Sam, you studied furniture design and have a great love for well-made pieces, what are some artists, designers or pieces that are a beacon for you and your own work?
I travelled to a lot of other countries when I was a university student as I thought there must be something that I cannot learn from texts and printed images only. I wanted to see and experience all of the iconic designs in real life. During that time, I was hugely inspired by European modernist designers Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier and Jean Prouve. All their colours, textures, lines, scale and ways of thinking about their creations were concepts I hadn’t seen or imagined. This experience gave me room to think about the relevance between form and function.
However, if I were to choose one my favourite designers, I would choose Alvar Aalto, the Scandinavian modernist. The shapes and lines of his works are mostly curved and soft, which are all derived from nature. Unlike the Bauhaus modernist designers, I felt his work could be sculptural while also doing their own function perfectly.
I think most of my work begins from the idea that I can create functional and sculptural objects. I believe this kind of design makes something more enjoyable for both designer and customer.
Jiho, you compliment Sam's woodwork with beautiful imagery that celebrates the tactility of his work. What are some of your favourite pieces that Sam has ever made?
A lot of the works Sam makes are art pieces, but he still designs them with function in mind too. When designing an object in order to be functional, this can create limitations in other areas, and he isn't always able to express the ideas he wants to show in his work. Whereas when he is making the hanging sculptures, he is able to explore his various ideas and find out something new by observing an object or phenomenon in detail, and connecting these different concepts and observations together in a piece.
We sometimes collaborate on pieces, and Sam brings my drawings to life with beautiful combinations of timbers. I love to see him make hanging sculptures, they never come out how I imagined.