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A Coveted Industrial Design Award

Posted November. 18, 2006 04:17,   


Not many young people surrender their real dreams even before trying, saying, “It’s too late now.”

Some, even while presently attending universities, have thoughts and regrets such as, “I wish I had tried harder to figure out what major I really want to pursue.”

However, after much suffering and anguish, many decide to look for a job while still uncertain what they really want to do, or they just give up their dreams because they think that they came too far anyway.

However, Park Sang-hyeon (28) and Kim Ji-ae (27), who are graduates of College of Engineering (Dept. of Mechanical Engineering) and College of Natural Sciences (Dept. of Biological Sciences), Seoul National University, respectively, were different. They stopped and looked at the road that lay ahead of them. They could have continued to walk on that road, because the road promised a bright future. But they decided to listen to the voice they heard inside of them. The voice said, “There are a lot more days you will live in the future than days you have lived so far. It will never be too late to make a turn and start on a different path. What is needed now is the courage to start all over again.”

In fact, they will be awarded the German Red Dot Design Award, one of the three most prestigious industrial design awards in the world, in Singapore on November 24. Among three categories of product design, design concept and communication design, they will be given a design concept red dot award, which was newly created last year.

The Power of the Samsung Art & Design Institute

Mr. Park and Ms. Kim quit their jobs that they had held after graduating from university and last year enrolled, somewhat belatedly, in the Department of Product Design of SADI in southern Seoul.

Founded by the Samsung Corporation in 1995, SADI has been operated by Samsung Electronics since 2000. SADI is three-year course design education institute that anyone with a high school diploma can apply to.

Even though this school cannot provide an official academic degree that the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development acknowledges, the popularity of this school is soaring thanks to its state-of-the-art facility and its faculty composed of top professional designers in the field. SADI only had communication design and fashion design courses until last year when a product design course was created. Mr. Park and Ms. Kim will be among the first graduates of SADI’s product design department.

With the saying “where there is a will, there is a way” in mind, Mr. Park sent e-mails to design professors of various universities, asking for ways on how to learn about designing. Professor Lee Soon-jong of Seoul National University suggested to him that he should attend his lecture. After gaining some confidence about his capability while listening to Professor Lee’s lecture, Mr. Park finally applied to SADI.

Ms. Kim also felt nervous in anticipation of her interview for SADI entrance because of her major in biology.

However, professors she met at the interview said to her, “Since design is all about ideas, we do not evaluate you on how good you are at drawing.” When she was told to design the next-generation mobile phone, she drew a very simple picture of a mobile phone in which a crystal liquid displayer spreads in a fan-shape. This prompted a big smile from the professors.

Design that Contains a Personal Touch-

This year’s Red Dot Awards in design concepts will be won by 84 teams of countries around the world.

Among them are eight Korean winners including two corporations, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, and six schools including Hongik, Dankook, Daejin universities and SADI. Mr. Park and Ms. Kim, who will be awarded as a SADI team, attracted much more attention than others because they are not professional designers working for companies or university students in their early 20s. Their product submitted in the competition is called “bong bong boxer.” It consists of a hat, gloves and boots made of Latex form, which absorb shock; therefore, by wearing the bong bong boxer, children will be prevented from getting hurt even if they get into a physical fight while playing.

Professor Park Yeong-choon of SADI said, “This is a new play culture concept for today’s children, who rarely go outside and play and who are instead always busy playing computer games. They thought ‘out of the box’ and utilized the notion that parents usually do not want their children to get involved in physical fights as a design theme.”

Then, what is their future plan? Much to my delight, their replies were in stark contrast to the usual answers that include “go abroad for further study” or “get a job in a company.”

Mr. Park replied, “I think I would feel rewarded in the future if I live my life to its fullest while doing something exciting.”

Ms. Kim said, “If I describe my feeling now in words, I think I would confine myself to such words. I don’t want to do that, because there is still so much potential ahead of me.”