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Train Your Instincts: Jung Myung Taek

Jung Myung Taek is a Korean Art Furniture designer, born October 1, 1971 in Seoul, Korea. His studio is located in Seoul, South Korea.

Jung Myung Taek

The interview

1. When did you take interest in design?

In my childhood; my two year older brother used to teach me a lot of interesting things, like how to draw cartoon characters, how to make Hyper-scope, and even how to build a snowman outdoors, etc. We usually played together creating funny 3-dimensional stuff indoors. Though they were not designed to communicate messages or creating something unique, whatever it was, it was enough to pull med towards design. During my first trip in Europe when I was 22, I could visit many places which both inspired and provoked me; such as design product shops, arts & crafts shops, furniture stores and imm cologne, etc. Since that time I have been passionate about design and felt that I needed to train myself the basics so that I could put my physical and emotional history into my own design.

Ducking Lounge Chair

2. Which buildings have made the most impact on you?

Some masterpieces have given me an important insight for my inspiration. If I have to choose one at this point, I would choose the Byung-san auditorium.

In Korea, inside Hahoi village, many houses have not lost their authenticity since the start of the Joseon Dynasty, especially the Byung-san auditorium, which Korean ancestors used for rituals and for teaching students. Students used to recite a poem or play instruments sitting on the wooden floor in Mandai-ru, which is an outdoor hall.

When I visited Byung-san auditorium, I was impressed with the components of its environment: a river seen from the open space of Mandai-ru, architectural construction using traditional joineries, and a large wooden floor inviting many people to sit, etc. I could envision how these elements would have a relationship with the auditorium.

3. How would you describe Korean design?

Korean design has been made a style that expresses a characteristic culture and identity of Korea by being associated with the various economical, socialistic and humanistic factors of the natural environment. I would describe Korean design pursuits an understated beauty that is imminent high spiritual culture comes from Korean traditional philosophy. Korean design paradigm is continuing as avant-garde with eco-friendly notion adapting to nature.

4. Which designers have influenced you the most?

Byunghoon Choi and Wendell castle are probably those who have been most influential to me. I have studied under professor Choi since 1992, and been influenced from his artwork that is taut and temperate. Mr. Castle, a master at breaking boundaries of sculpture and furniture, was one of my MFA thesis committee and gave me a lot of wise advice and his thoughts, during my studying abroad in US. They made me enhance my own venue in art and qualified me to create better innovative furniture and intensify my creativity.

5. What is the most challenging part of your profession?

I think that the most challenging part of my profession is currently not only developing a unique language of my own creation and final aesthetic & practical outcome, but also the evolution of my design process and finding out the right direction for my future work.

6. Do you have any favorite books that would help other designers?

I don’t know about favorite covers, but ‘The Tipping Point’ and ‘Blink’ by Malcolm Gladwell are so effective for rethinking our conception. I think that designers need to train their instincts because designers are often required to have brilliant intuition to apply best decision into their projects. These books may give other designers some clues to save time and get a better way in their design process.

7. What advice do you have for an aspiring designer?

Enjoy your work by having sincerity and keep doing what you do for the coming years.

8. Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?

Thanks for inviting me to this interview!

Julian Bench


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