Furniture Designer ‘Seungji Mun’
Photography offered by MUN
Please introduce us about studio ‘MUN’
Studio ‘MUN’ is a design studio opened in 2012 based in Seoul. We deal with variety of cultural creative activities such as furniture, space, artwork, exhibition and etc. through storytelling method. The most representative work we did recently is ‘Four brothers chair’ which was collaborated with the Swedish brand called ‘COS’ and the furniture brand for pets called ‘M.PUP’. We are planning to expand our territory to Europe, so we main work from studios based in Seoul and Copenhagen.
Any specific opportunity you started to be interested in ‘furniture design’?
I got in to furniture through various hands-on opportunities in college since I was an industrial design major and have dealt with product design. What was so intriguing to me about this particular chair that I had to design is that the fact that the furniture itself actually has to be in touch with our body. From then on it got me to study more and more.
Seems to me that you really did not stop from the beginning until now. You launched ‘M.pup’ (furniture brand for pets) and collaboration with C.O.S and more. What is this energy that drives you to do this nonstop?
It is to enjoy. I never thought of this work as ‘work’ really. All of these to me is more like a hobby. ‘Another’ hobby. Even if I get tired from the work load, I tend to enjoy and appreciate it still. I think I produce more energy when I am doing something fun and that’s why I did not have to take a rest.
Each project(pieces) we looked into through your website has its own unique stories. Especially, the process of producing ‘A new shape of kimchi’, which you explained to us directly, was very interesting. How are these stories usually begin?
I am interested in the situation and issues around me. I also am interested in all of the things within my boundary, on how my life is organized, how things are organized within my space, how all of these news material happens at the same time I am living. I am aware and interested in these patterns and there comes a moment where ideas pop up in my head and I shout ‘Eureka!’. I develop these ideas by writing down on my note pad and work on the story telling. This behavior became my habit so ‘A new shape of kimchi’ is one of the product from such work habit I would say.
You opened up a studio in Copenhagen in 2016 until early this year. What kind of work did you create?
In Copenhagen, I worked on designing furniture with this furniture brand in North Europe and I also worked on an objet work with vogue magazine and Paper pot. I also participated in COS Musical chair project with Lernert & Sander(video artist group), HAY and various European designers. I think I tried really hard to understand the culture of the country while I was staying in Northern Europe rather than trying to ‘work’. The way of life in Northern Europe and Copenhagen I imagined while I was in Korea was very different. In that way I could expand my horizon as a designer.
What do you think the difference is between Korean and European market in terms of ‘furniture design’?
Fundamentally, there are geographical, environmental difference between Europe and Korea. That affects the market of ‘furniture design’. The concept that the European have towards ‘home’ and ‘dining’ culture cannot be the same since their night time is comparatively longer than the day time. They tend to feel satisfied by showing off their good furniture to the visitors, so they rather feel intrigued to purchase a good chair rather than buying good clothes for themselves. That is why their furniture industry cannot help but to grow and many talented designers are based in Europe. On top of that, they have this culture called ‘Hygge’ which is spending time with their family at their home, enjoying the time and finding their inner piece. On the other hand, Korean people tend to spend more time outside and that’s why Korean fashion industry is consumed so well.
You recently moved the studio to Korea. What is your plan in Korea?
I actually did not move our studio to Korea again. It’s more of reorganization in order to expand the designing activities both in Seoul and Copenhagen. I am preparing to toughen the team so that we could spread Korean design worldwide, including Europe. Moreover, I am thinking hard to expand our own territory in designing such as branding, a space that our furniture is being placed, and etc. rather than designing ‘furniture’ only.
What does ‘designing a furniture’ means to you personally?
It is to create new culture. I thought that if we, or I create good furniture and good space, people will feel peace in their heart and mind and that will help them to have a comfortable conversation. This kind of culture and environment will allow our families to be connected in a good, healthy way. I would like to do more research and give serious approach towards furniture design.
What grabs your attention the most these days?
Apart from space and branding, I have started to be interested in lifestyle. I imagine the time that the users being at our space and the objet of ours in that space. It creates a whole look of space; I design it in my head. Design actually do have a wide range of spectrum but I think it is connected with something in one. I think the ultimate purpose of our designers is to create and have a better lifestyle.
What could be your new goals for this year?
I would like to keep doing what I do. Furniture, space issue and lifestyle even. I would also like to think further on combining space and F&B issue as a project in order to cover the design side in our lifestyle. I am also planning harden my groundwork as a designer.