Studio COM opened at the end of year 2015 and earned its fame in a flash. We presume you’d have many thoughts on your future path.
(Han) We usually designed exhibition spaces that collaborated with graphic designers. With short lead time and low budget given, we decided we’d concentrate on appliances and furnitures instead of finishing the whole space. The choice we made under the circumstances of a low budget was to go experimental with cheap materials. We’d use cheap construction materials such as MDF, particle boards, plywood. The structures we came up with kind of caught the attention of exhibition related groups, which led to our gradual growth. And I think because our ‘know-hows of the poor’ has molded our foundation, the homogenous sophistication produced by other interior designers feel rather too distanced.
(Kim) We do have the urge to succeed commercially while pushing forward with our own style. But when I look close, it seems like people see it obvious to make things pretty and cool. Well, we’ve got a whole ocean of things nice and pretty out there. Nonetheless, we want to actively use materials we purposely didn’t use and still build our own style. To be frank, nowadays we’re in this phase where we’re reflecting on ourselves, wondering why we became known to a lot of people in such short period of time. And I think we certainly had that unique esthetic sense that came from building every appliances and space with our own hands. That experience we’ve had, experimenting through our hands in order to take the intolerable lightness of cheap stuff and turn them into something beautiful, along with the failures we had, have become a great source.
Would it be correct to describe studio COM as designers and manufacturers at the same time?
(COM) Yes, and we think that’s our strength—being designers while being manufacturers too. Unless it’s a project that’s too big for us to handcraft everything, we’d always want to keep our hands busy. In the beginning we couldn’t help but to do the woodwork ourselves due to the budget but now, the self-manufactured woodwork has become our very own way of designing and manufacturing.