Introducing the Mastermind Behind the Prime Lounge Project
A Designer with a Purpose
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In celebration of the construction of the Prime Lounges in the Hanyang ERICA Campus, News H interviewed the mastermind behind the many lounges enthusiastically used by the students of the campus. Park Euna (Industrial Design, '00), led a one-person design firm called Design EU, passionately pursuing her calling for design.
Park runs an interior architecture firm.
Designing her alma mater
Her first step in designing her old school began when the LINC+ Foundation, requested the design of the Knowledge Factory in 2012. The construction, with the purpose to facilitate start-up ideas, was such a success that it was expanded to “Knowledge Studio” in 2014. This served as the next step in the relationship. It was generally unusual for a school to focus on the design of its interiors. Nevertheless, it was a small beginning that she was happy to take part of. Then, she took charge of the Prime Lounge Project for the development of the student environment. For the last two years, she has designed lounges for various department buildings. She did not have this type of environment as a student and felt great empathy to the cause--providing a better studying environment for students. A crucial purpose of the project was to move the students, who usually studied in cafes, into the campus by providing a similar environment.
In designing different lounges, her goal was to understand and utilize the unique characteristics of each department. She wanted to provide diversity to the students. For every project, there were key words such as ‘concentration', ‘expression’, ‘transformation', and so on. The space design were done with these concepts in mind. In retrospect, Park views the project as a fresh and stimulating experience. She jokingly added that it was exciting just to be back on campus as it had been nearly 10 years since her graduation.
Park emphasized that she never turned down a new opportunity.
The journey to starting a one-person firm
Park had a clear purpose since her university years. She considers herself lucky to have had the calling and environment. She sought a job that she could have fun and learn. After working in a domestic design company for five years, she felt the necessity to find her own color and voice in her designs. Thus, she took all of her savings and went to New York in 2008 with the purpose to learn, relax, and find inspiration. According to Park, she had studied straight through college, eager to begin her career, but she suddenly felt the need to pack things up and leave.
New York was different in that she was more respected as a professional despite her lack of English proficiency. The fact that her initial plans for a project came out exactly how she had intended showed that her views in design were highly reputed. This was not so common in Korea, where the clients are considered to be the “king” or the ultimate decision makers. However, despite her freedom to create, one limitation that she felt while working in New York was that she did not have enough time to study. She eventually returned to Korea to satisfy her thirst for learning and proceeded to a graduate program in Hanyang soon after her return.
She never had the idea of running a firm in mind, but as she began to receive numerous project proposals, it just seemed natural to do so. The realization that she could make others truly happy through her work was a big influence on her decision. The name of her firm, Design EU, stands for the reason for her designs, as well as the message that every design has a reason and purpose.
Philosophy and advice
Park believes that there is a right time for everything. She advises students, “Don’t try to extend your status as a student. You can always come back and study. You can learn much more when you realize the reason and purpose for studying.” For her, going to New York, proceeding to graduate school, and starting her firm all came as natural; it was always the “right time” to do so. One affirmation she had was that the purpose of her life was to design, and the purpose of her design was to spread happiness. This provided a firm ground for all of her decisions. "Nothing is easy. Every aspect of it has a process. Just know this: If you persist, anything is really impossible. Also, don’t stay in one place. Knock on doors, travel, and grab opportunities."
Lee Chang-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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