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Jeong- Eun Lee: Design requires Heart and Sweat

Young designer, Jeong- Eun Lee, says that design is in her blood. The strong interest for the heritage of crafts became a natural part of Lee’s life as she was brought up by a jewelry designer father and a fashion designer mother. Time and again as she saw self-made jewelry and colorful patterns: her will to adopt a life in design culture nurtured.

After graduating from the Metal Art & Design faculty at Hong-Ik University, South Korea, Lee received an offer from a number of local design shops that wished to sell her 'SUM lighting'. The SUM lighting was one of her graduation projects. She spent months after graduating assembling the lights one by one as the production of SUM lighting was quite complicated and time consuming, bearing in mind that Lee was alone during the entire creation process.

Shorty after her graduation, Lee portrayed her first Solo exhibition in which she showcased her works. She named it “Nobody Knows Me”.

Jeong-eun Lee

It's merely a conceptual declaration.

I have participated in some other exhibitions before my solo, and after all, I realized that most people will be quite conscious and appreciative about a particular design piece if they have heard of the creator. As a result, vastly influenced by the creator’s beliefs and the associated synopsis, I found this causing the exhibits to be overly definitive and unimaginative.

Thus, I created this paradoxical title / platform, wanting to ‘remove’ the identity from the artist and design pieces. Contextually, it made me relatively unknown, as opposed to the works I want to display. And at the same time, allowing a free interpretation due to the elimination of all works’ synopsis.

Nobody Knows Me

I would like to consider myself as a tightrope walker between designer and craftsman. I enjoy staying in between because it helps me understand both the significance of Function and the process of Form. Besides, it gives me opportunities to create things with my own hands. I really enjoy camping in a workshop.

A lot of my friends used to tell me to ‘enjoy design’. However, I ironically find the idea of ‘enjoy design’ challenging. The design process can be quite painful sometimes and it requires a lot of heart and sweat. My only tip for now will be: Find your interpretation of ‘Enjoy Design’ and believe in it.

As Alla Kaprow said 'Young artists of today need no longer say, "I am a painter" or "a poet" or "a dancer". They are simply ‘artists.’ This quote gave me courage to rethink about a lot of things, particularly the necessity and value of advice.

I am passionately curious with a lot of small details around me; at times I’m even positioning myself as a specific object and perceive from its view, both physically and spiritually. I find this amusing and rewarding while opening up different perspectives in life.

Depending on the problems, I would like to allow my design to always give a voice, show an alternative, and most importantly, stay honest.

SUM lighting


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