Every designer creates to offer society tools to make life easier, more pleasant and more beautiful. So they of course have in mind that an object – be it a chair, a spoon, an ashtray or a shelf – must be useful and attractive. But Wonmin Park goes one step further: through his furniture he looks for even more elevated concepts such as purity, innocence, imagination and eternity. And the objects he creates, as you are about to see, achieve that goal. For that reason he’s about to have a solo show at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Paris inaugurating on October 12.
You’re South Korean but went to the Netherlands to study design. How did this change affect the way you approach or see design (and art, or even aesthetics, in general)?
I was born in South Korea and lived there until I was twenty-six. Then I moved to the Netherlands and started studying Design. I would say that growing up in South Korea I got inspired by our culture, art and civilisation. I also find the nature there extremely fascinating. In my studies in the Netherlands I learned about art from experimental design and how to develop my ideas and imagination into a concept.
Can your summarise the main concept behind your furniture designs?
About six years ago I started my studio in Eindhoven after finishing my studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven, and then three years ago I moved to Paris. Since I am able to work on my designs in my own studio, I aim to use light and colour to create emptiness and eternity. I want to give the impression that my pieces have no limits.
Normally furniture is experienced through the sense of touch. However, would you say that in order to experience your particular work the sense of vision is even more important?
When I start creating one of my designs I concentrate on the sense of vision, so I would say that it is actually more important. But in the end of each design the function is as significant as the appearance.
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You create your designs with flammable materials. Light, air and the flow of material also seem to play an important role. What inspired you to include these elements in your designs?
Including these elements in my work is inspired by our nature. Especially the nature I was able to see every day in South Korea. I became aware that you can create the light of the sky in a real object. My aim is to paint with colour in the air and at the same time keep the result very functional.
How do you choose the colour combinations? Are the choices of colour and shapes important to bring across the concept of your work?
Creating my furniture designs shares similarities with painting. You need to test and experiment with different colours and shapes and then see which outcome you like the most. The choice of quality and texture of the material is also very important for the final result.
How did you choose to work mainly with resin? What possibilities does it offer?
Each material has its own character and quality and I felt very inspired by the quality of this particular material. I thought that resin could be an answer to my search for imagination, purity and innocence. However now I’m working with metal – especially aluminium – for my new project, Plain Cuts, which concentrates on structure and geometry of construction.
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Your work reminds me of the work by Donald Judd, among others. Who and what influences you on a daily basis?
I couldn’t say that I’m inspired by one particular artist as I respect many different ones. I work with my furniture to create a completely new experience. Although it has a relationship with what we know as minimalism, I don’t like the word – just like Donald Judd. I think that what I do is about ‘specificness’, not about minimalism. The furniture and pieces are made with specific materials and forms that are related to my choices. The poetry of my work is found in how specific it is, not in how minimal it is.
How do you choose where to exhibit your work? Is the environment important to you and to your pieces?
Yes, the environment is always extremely important. The designs keep their value in the right environment. Normally galleries contact me and we choose a selection of my work together. Depending on the event I help curating the show or they curate the show on their own.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am inaugurating a solo show in Paris on t October 12th at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery at the moment, and I’ve had another one also in Paris last week; so they kept me busy. I am also working on several different collaborations and other projects, like for example a ceramic and bamboo project in Taiwan.
Plain Cuts by Wonmin Park will inaugurate on October 12 and will be on show until December 23 at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, 54 Rue de la Verrerie, Paris.
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