Seungjin Yang’s Collaborative Spirit

Colourful, functional and playful, the Korean designer’s experimental balloon creations reflect his love for experimentation


‘My inspiration comes from the people around me,’ says Korean furniture designer Seungjin Yang. At only 33 years old, Yang has already gained international recognition through his participation in exhibitions in Korea, Milan and Dubai. Having grown up in eastern South Korea, he moved to Seoul to study metal art and design at Hongik University while simultaneously working for acclaimed Korean designer Kwangho Lee.

After graduating in 2013, Yang launched his own studio with a clear vision of what and how he wanted to create. ‘I like to have fun with my work, and I want viewers to have a similar experience when they interact with my pieces,’ he says. ‘I want to achieve a friendly yet bold aesthetic that leaves a long-lasting impression.’

Yang is best known for his Blowing Series of curvaceous and playful furniture pieces made of epoxy resin coated onto balloons. According to the designer, the substantial forms and glossy surfaces mean each object is ‘strong enough to hold weight and work as a functional piece’. Year after year, Yang has improved his techniques and developed new forms and structures. ‘Through trial and error, I’ve discovered a wider array of sizes and colours that can deliver higher usability and aesthetic values,’ he explains. ‘I believe in the craftsmanship and beauty of furniture that cannot be made with machines. Despite the simple shapes of my furniture, the process is tedious and highly demanding. By showing the process of transforming undefined and fragile balloons into a solid piece of furniture, I aim to capture the unexpected qualities of an ordinary material.’

Yang works on every balloon individually, the entire process taking around two weeks to complete one piece. Each layer of epoxy resin takes half a day to dry, and this step is repeated until the desired sturdiness is achieved. The individual pieces are then assembled to become functional objet d’arts.

And what’s next for this promising young designer? ‘In the near future, I want to work on international projects in collaboration with other artists and companies,’ Yang says. ‘Since people are my main source of inspiration, I find that I’m more creatively inspired when working with others.’

Text / Karine Monié
Images / Courtesy of Seungjin Yang

Issue 22

The Korea Edition

Introducing issue 22, Design Anthology’s annual edition dedicated to exploring a single country’s design scene. This year, we've focused on Korea’s vibrant and eclectic creative community. Available to pre-order now.