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Jisan Chung: merging technical knowledge with creative expression

The Korean designer, one of the winners of the 2023 DesignWanted Award, tells us about his design studio and philosophy, and how the Rollerjet project was born

Industrial designer Jisan Chung, based in Seoul, South Korea, shares his passion for merging technical knowledge with creative expression to provide a unique and innovative perspective to the industry. With a focus on designing products that not only function well but also tell a story, creating a memorable and engaging user experience.

In this interview, Chung talks about his design philosophy and his vital tools and resources for designing new products. He also discusses his views on future trends in product design and shares his excitement about working with companies that share his passion for creating innovative products that make a meaningful impact in the market.

Jisan Chung, winner of DesignWanted Award 2023, product design category
Jisan Chung, winner of DesignWanted Award 2023

Let’s explore more about his design and award-winning project, Rollerjet, which is going to be presented at the ‘Innovation for Living’ exhibition, which is a co-production by DesignWanted, Designtech, and Isola Design, during the upcoming Milan Design Week scheduled for 17-23 April. The exhibition will take place at La Cattedrale, in the Certosa area.

Who is Jisan Chung? How did your design journey begin?

Jisan Chung:

“As an industrial designer based in Seoul, South Korea, I strive to provide a unique and innovative perspective to the industry. Although my academic background is in engineering, my passion for design was ignited during my undergraduate studies. This experience showed me the potential for merging technical knowledge with creative expression, leading me to pursue a career in industrial design.

Throughout my career, I have dedicated myself to refining my skills and exploring new ways to integrate engineering principles into design solutions. My time in the master’s program at ECAL allowed me to collaborate with leading companies such as Yamaha and Flokk, where I honed my design philosophy. In particular, my collaboration with Yamaha on a conceptual speaker discovered my design potential in creating a poetic user experience even with future technology.

My ultimate goal is to design products that not only function well but also tell a story, creating a memorable and engaging user experience.”

Why Jisan Chung design studio, why focusing on industrial design?

Jisan Chung:

“In addition to only problem-solving design with rational studies, I have always aimed to design the holistic experience of products through the story behind them. To enrich the experience, I believe that tangibility is the most important element that evokes our emotions, yet it is easily overlooked in this digital age. That explains why I enjoy designing physical products.”

You won the DesignWanted Award with Rollerject, a handy tool for daily printing. How did you come up with the idea to develop a product like this?

Jisan Chung:

“Rollerjet is my diploma project at ECAL, under the guidance of Camille Blin and Augustin Scott. Throughout the discussion with them, I narrowed down the goal of the project, a product that can bring users a nostalgic experience without losing practicality.

My research delved into exploring the types of experiences that people currently miss but still value. Among the fascinating findings, I discovered that users prefer the tangible interaction of a printout over that of a screen. This insight led to the development of a new type of printer.”

Roller Jet by Jisan Chung
Rollerjet by Jisan Chung, winner of DesignWanted Award 2023, product design category – Photo ©Noe Cotter

How would you describe your design philosophy? What are the aspects that you focus on the most when developing new products?

Jisan Chung:

I aim to impart to users meaningful experiences through design, which extend beyond mere usability or functionality. They encompass personal feelings or emotions associated with the products. They encompass personal feelings or emotions associated with the products.

While I believe that most projects can be adequately executed by adhering to established design methodologies, conservative approaches may fall short in capturing such intangible values.

Accordingly, I place a high value on qualitative research during the development process. By actively listening to individuals’ feelings, I gain a deeper understanding of the reasons behind their preferences and dislikes.”

From an industrial design perspective, which are your vital tools, resources, and methods for you during the design process?

Jisan Chung:

“As an industrial designer, I firmly believe in the value of improvisation and prototyping. Testing and experimentation are essential to verify the practicality and feasibility of a product, but one cannot always rely on ideal conditions.

Rollerjet by Jisan Chung, winner of DesignWanted Award 2023, product design category – Photo ©Noe Cotter

That’s why the ability to improvise fast and agile prototypes using readily available materials or resources is crucial. Moreover, this approach often leads to new insights that can significantly enhance the product in the process.”

What do you believe are the main trends & future directions within product design and what do you think of them?

Jisan Chung:

“Technology is changing rapidly, and we are seeing many new products in the market that incorporate these changes. While these products have the potential to improve our lives, some prioritise looking flashy over being practical and fitting into our daily lives.

It’s important for designers to find ways to implement these new technologies into products in a way that works seamlessly with our daily routines and social norms. This way, we can create products that are both useful and visually appealing, while still being mindful of what people need and expect from them.”

Rollerjet by Jisan Chung, winner of DesignWanted Award 2023, product design category

What is the next step for Jisan Chung?

Jisan Chung:

“I am always on the lookout for opportunities to broaden my design perspectives and tackle fresh projects. My aim is to work with companies that share my passion for creating innovative products that can make a meaningful impact in the market. I am excited to continue pushing myself creatively and professionally, and I believe that collaborative design projects are the perfect way to do so.”

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