Jaden ‘Youngsun’ Kang was born in Seoul, South Korea. After working as an in-house designer for 10 years, Jaden moved to Australia in 2013 with his partner to pursue new challenges. Currently residing in Sydney, Jaden enjoys creating new product designs at his own studio, YOUNGSUN.
We had a chat with Jaden to get to know more about his first steps in design, who and what inspires him and creating sustainable products.
What made you want to become a product designer?
I have always enjoyed drawing and making things with my hands. Going into design was a natural thing for me to do.
Could you tell us something about your earliest influences in design?
I took my first steps into the design world quite late in life, to be honest. After graduating from design school, I looked for a job as a product designer but even then I did not have a certain idol to look up to or a design philosophy yet. Then I got to know world-famous designer Philippe Starck, and through his works, I found my identity and my own design philosophy. To this day, I still get inspired by his works and I am happy to share the same path as him.
Who or what are you currently inspired by and how does this manifest in your work?
Rather than being inspired by one person or thing, all of my surroundings, such as nature and the people around me, give me inspiration to design. The endangerment of polar bears living in the arctic led me to designing my ICEBERG tea infuser.
Your first independently designed product, the ICEBERG Tea Infuser, is made to remind people of their personal impact on the environment. Do you see design mainly as a medium for social criticism?
Not always. Sometimes, designers simply want to create something new and fun. However, other times we like to design something that additionally delivers a social and environmental message.
In your personal opinion, should all products designed to be sustainable?
Yes, I hope that one day, all products will be sustainable. This is my ultimate goal for design.
What kind of designs are you working on right now and what are your plans for Youngsun studio?
At the moment, I am sketching new ideas and trying to create something fun. I have some ideas but I have not decided yet what will be my next creation. My career as an independent designer has just begun. As my motto is ‘Imagine it, Design it, Enjoy it’, I would like to continue sharing my designs and communicating with people.