STUDIO SHINYOO is a collective furniture design studio based in Sweden and South Korea. The studio’s founders, SHIN YONGSUB and YOO SEUNGMIN, explore their role as design translators willing to maintain cultural characteristics through their work. The LIN Series (林 [Lin]; forest in Chinese) is a collection of furniture inspired by nature, human and balance, made with wood and steel – wood representing nature while steel represents artificiality.
STUDIO SHINYOO: While designing the LIN table series, we also thought about designing chairs along with it. We discovered that the steel structures used to build the LIN table were much stronger than we expected. It was stable enough to stand humans seating with the proper mechanism of joints as the same method in the LIN table.
STUDIO SHINYOO: Design is a translation. Every communication has two ends. A transmitter and a receiver. There is a code as a medium. A process of translation is respecting the original message from the transmitter but also changing its form to fit in the frame of what the receiver has. The code is not coming from one side. It should consist of meanings layered by both sides at the intersection. And if it is a proper translation, it must be modified as time goes by. Design should also be transformed to meet the demands of a new age just like a revised classical literature edition.
STUDIO SHINYOO: The main concept behind LIN’s Series is an intersection area where different cultures have a cup of coffee. Time defines history, whereas space defines culture. When different cultures meet each other at the border, it occurs in a neutral zone naturally. We translate this place into design languages. As a code, we translate universalities layered in between historical and cultural distinctions when the border is overlapped. There we can have communication and then learn from each other. We design with the belief that it connects the world.
STUDIO SHINYOO: There are many movements to maintain history and culture in the design area. You can see various design works that have traditional motives. It shows a distinct character of its own. Among these many glossy design features, it is hard to find a chance for communication. Nobody empathizes with it. People forget too much to know what they have forgotten. When the past is erased, I can not be myself anymore. To find who I am, we chase tradition. However, finding identity to be distinct from others becomes another disconnection with others losing bonds of sympathy due to its purpose. It is possible to be myself but being alone makes me no one.
STUDIO SHINYOO: LIN chair has very different views from different angles since it is made of 5mm steel. In front of its seating, the structure looks very thin and sharp. On the other hand, it looks like an overlapped paper. It is made with no glue to transport easily and to make anyone can assemble it. While the basic structure is made of a steel frame, the materials which are near to the body of humans are solid wood such as walnut, oak, and pine to give a warm comfort.
STUDIO SHINYOO: Finding the right tolerance limit was the most challenging moment when developing this chair. The LIN chair and other LIN table series are constructed with no glue. So the structure materials must be of the same amount of quality while maintaining their form. To make the chair can be assembled, we have many experiments to find the best tolerance.
Design & Future Thoughts
STUDIO SHINYOO: Our world is consumed by mass production. After industrialization, it is true that artists have fought for the identity and independence of each individual from the trend of standardization. However, we reached a world where everything is shared. Without an interest in others, we become narcissists who only care about displaying ourselves. Displaying my distinctive characteristics only means ‘I am me’.
STUDIO SHINYOO: We are looking for a context that might have been lost. We discover various cultures which can be represented as possibilities with others. Facing them, we translate overlapped universalities with design language.
Interview with STUDIO SHINYOO | Photography STUDIO SHINYOO