Industrial design is meant for solving daily problems that human beings encounter in their lives. Youngmin Kang is a good model of such definition. He likes to look at phenomena which people take for granted.
“Like Newton discovered the law of gravitation by looking at apples falling down, I usually take concepts from small acts in everyday life,” he says. “I think industrial design is thinking about how to reflect our present era into goods or the environment and also showing our future generation.”
Youngmin went through an unusual process of realising what he wanted to do in life. “There was once I disassembled my stag beetle when it died because I was so curious about its anatomic structure. My parents who saw the ‘crime scene’ were shocked and took me to see a psychologist.”
From his parents’ point of view, Youngmin’s behavior was weird until meeting his art teacher in high school. Since then they have been supportive of his creativity and allowed Youngmin to have fun in the subject.
While everyone is considering the Internet and smartphone as two of the best inventions of the 21st century, Youngmin treats them as one of the biggest daily-life problem humans are facing.
“It does not mean that technological development and such situations are wrong. There are problems such as disconnection of conversation between people, uniformity of leisure time and increased traffic accidents with no solution. Shouldn’t it be our responsibility to solve those problems derived from the ‘inventions’?”
Youngmin obviously has a mission in mind to contribute his creativity and skills towards society. His thought process is thoroughly self-reflective and will take an unexpected amount of time. Most importantly – it involves self-denial.
“When I work, I avoid getting results directly without going through a series of processes and verification that I pursue. Sometimes an idea intimately comes to my mind with the outcome for no reason – this is the most difficult time because I have a feeling that the first thing that comes to my mind is suppressing the development of my unconstrained thought.”
And this is not an assumption but actual practice proven through Youngmin’s principle. He has gone through a hard lesson to learn the importance of verification of thought process.
“One day I happened to design an object I have never used and I thought the result was satisfactory. But people who were actually using it didn’t need my design at all. That was a big shock to me because my work was unnecessary no matter how I tried. Since then, I have done a lot of experiments on each of my projects. I first started with asking the ‘why’ question then reinterpreting the particular phenomenon that I am questioning.”
Among all his creations, Youngmin likes “Faber-Modern Stoneware” the best. It is about discovering naturally or primitively shaped objects’ purposes and discovering that it is often the case that they are not what they seem to be. “I worked on it myself with own ideas and judgment without any help. When I was a student, everyone was happy to help. While I was on my own in this project, I still received support.”
When Youngmin was in school, he learnt that talking with friends, discussing and making reports of good work could help solve problems. He hence developed his style in two layers – the inner style reflects thoughts behind each project while the superficial style is what people can see and perceive by looking at them.
“I have dream projects yet I may not deserve them now. I hope to collaborate with designers all over the world and share ideas around. I hope I can be a recognised designer in five years and people can appreciate, remember and respect my designs and even be inspired.”
工業設計的意義是為了解決人類在日常生活中遇到的問題 – Youngmin Kang為此定義做了很好的詮釋，因為他很喜歡留意人們習以為常亦不會多加留意的日常習慣。
Youngmin在心中有一份責任感，希望為社會貢獻自己的創意和技能。他的思考過程完全自省並願意付出大量時間，更重要的是 – 它包含自我否定。
「當我工作的時候，我盡量避免使用完全不經過思考的念頭，所有想法必須經過驗證。有時候有靈感甚至設計方法跳進我腦袋的時候，那是我最艱難的一刻 – 因為我覺得這樣的點子會阻礙我創意的發展空間。」
而這並不是Youngmin的想像 – 他透過實際經驗並學了深刻的一課才知道驗證的重要性。
當Youngmin在學校的時候，他透過跟朋友討論、聊天和分析好設計來學習解決問題。他自此給自己發展了兩個層面的風格 – 反映項目背後真意的內在風格和人們一眼看見並能夠理解和接受的外在風格。