A furniture designer, cabinetmaker and artist
Furniture Designer, Design Educator, Craftsman, and Artist
Furniture Designer, Design Educator, Craftsman, and Artist


가구? (2015 Fall)


쓰임새가 배제된, 감상만을 위한 가구는 더 이상 가구가 아니다.

"앉지 마세요, 눈으로만 감상하세요"라는 팻말은

마치 "이건 가구가 아닙니다. 가구는 딴 데 가서 알아보세요." 처럼 들릴 뿐이다.


디자이너-소재 생산자-가구 제작자-판매자-소비자-재활용 업자에 이르는 모든 관계자에게 합리적 기능을 제공할 수 있는

가구야 말로 진짜 가구가 아닐까 싶다.




On my previous works (January 2013)


I have two children. Yoonjae, my first son, was born in 2005 during the period I was using chemical materials to construct my sculptural furniture forms. My second son, Bradley Hyunjae, was born in 2012. Yoonjae had eczema on his face for more than a year right after he was born. In South Korea, eczema is one of the most common infant diseases. It is known that there is no essential therapy because of its unknown cause. Many physicians suspect only some issues such as genetic inheritance, fumes from constructive chemical finishes or air pollution.

I felt guilty for a long time whenever I looked upon his face, even though there was no evidence that his symptom was caused by my use of resin, fiberglass, automotive spray, etc. I now assume that it was one of the main reasons why I tried to switch from chemical materials to natural materials. Fortunately, my newborn second child does not have any symptoms like his brother. Does it mean that my new choice of materials was right?

I do not know the answer to the question. However, my belief on that a design has to serve the populace and the designers because of this I always try to consider the user first when creating my designs. The function of my design must satisfy specific users’ needs, and the material should not be harmful to them. These are the fundamental principles of my design. I recently created therapeutic chair designs that took inspiration of acupressure therapy executed by a computer numerical control (CNC) router. And all of them reflect my design principles.

I spent many hours teaching myself how to use the CNC machine at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). In the process of learning, I found sparse practical information for executing CNC on books and the internet. There were many enigmatic problems I encountered until I understood the system. However, my passion and endless curiosity about the machine ultimately let me keep exploring it. I could not forget the night when I succeeded in making my first CNC piece, and the vivid memory still thrills me.

That experience made me realize that CNC technology is not alchemy but only a tool. Thus, I started using it as a supplementary tool for my funtional furniture designs, especially when the design was hard to solve with traditional woodworking. While I enjoyed the potential of the technology, I assumed if there was a more detailed instruction or description of a design case showing how to use it, I could learn it much faster. That is why I attempted to describe my design processes in the CNC manual, which I created while I worked for furniture studio at IUP as a graduate assistant. This experience also became a driving force to me to delve the advanced technology for my second MFA thesis. I hope the result of my long-term efforts may be useful to art students and studio furniture designers.




Statement (2012 Spring)


I do not focus on making furniture only for appreciation, but creating functional furniture for user. I assume this was caused from my self-examination on why I wasted much time given to me for making grotesque and unusual shaped furniture. Therefore, my recent work is based on the reaction from my past.


The most important meaning of furniture today is functionality for me, and I strongly believe that each type of furniture names- stool, chair, table, cabinet, drawer, etc. - obviously reflects its own purpose. If I design a chair, for instance, I will regard the fundamental function of a chair as seating, so I will apply the appropriate size of height, width, and angle from human scale to the chair. The structure for it has to be designed to support the weight of user. As a result, form follows human scale for me, and even if ornamental elements have to be applied necessarily, it will be intentionally minimized.


As a same token, my philosophy on functional furniture leads me to use American ash and walnut, which is trading in low and middle price. Because I neither want to make a chair with Gabon ebony priced over 80 dollars per a board foot, nor do not want to sit on it. For me, that kind of chair is only an absurdity like sculpture in furniture’s skin, and the place for it is under a glass case in a museum. I wish my work to be used by people in a house and a public space, and that is clear reason why I do not sign on my piece, as well.


Against to this backdrop, I have kept myself to perform design process in order to brainstorming, design concept, idea sketch, rendering, modeling, drawing, mock-up, prototype, and feedback for each project. Also, the problem occurring during the process of feedback gives me the driving force to solve it in the next project and it use it to make connectivity each pieces.

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© Yong Jun Shin