Il Hoon Roh answers Despokes Questions

What made you want to become a designer in the first place?
A few years ago one of my old tutors said that I would probably became a designer because I played with Lego blocks a lot as a child and he himself went into architecture because he enjoyed playing with the Mecano toys so much as a child.

I actually thought about this for a while and it is not a bad assumption. I think it is true that those toys helped me learn a lot of essential skills: how to imagine things; how to solve problems; how to realise the things in my head and most importantly, playing with Lego blocks taught me that nothing around us is never perfect, I can always make improvements to my Lego creations. And also, I never liked to follow the manuals.

Where did you study?

I studied Architecture at the Architectural Association and Product Design at the Royal College of Art, both in London.

What was the first thing you ever designed?

When I was kid, I remember combining different sets of plastic kits with glues to create things which were clearly not in any of the instruction booklets. I can’t remember what they were but I do remember being satisfied with the results.

How would you define good design?

A good design is one that gives satisfaction to both the creator and the user for a long time.

What would you be if you were not a designer?

A carpenter or maybe a repair man. I did-up refurbished my house a few years ago and I found it very rewarding.

Which one of your designs are you most proud of and why?

I am always proud of my latest creation, but then I soon get bored with it, even embarrassed to talk about it.

Is there anything in your career you wish you’d done differently?

I’m happy with my current career path and I’m glad to have studied architecture and design. I’m also glad to have worked as an architect in a large office. I plan to continue developing a career in both architecture and design in the future.

Which designers do you most admire?

The architect Frie Otto is my hero. I’ve learned so much from his work. I also like the work of Rem Koolhaas and Nicolas Grimshaw – they are just fantastic.

Which product do you wish you’d designed/do you think is an example of good design?

The main station in Stuttgart, designed in 1997. The building was designed by the architectural company Ingenhoven Overdiek working in partnership with Frei Otto. For me, that building is just great.

And of course Lego bricks!

Tell me about the design style of your home.

I don’t have a particular design style, or at least not intentionally. When I design something, I try to find the most suitable manufacturing methods and aesthetics for its purpose. Maybe that’s why my house and my workshop look so eclectic in terms of design styles.

British Architect and designer Il Hoon Roh studied architecture for five years and received an AA diploma from the Architectural Association School of Architecture and Design Product Masters degree at Royal College of Art in London. Il Hoon Roh has been working as an architect at Foster and Partners and LDY in London until he resumed his passion for furniture design in the beginning of 2010. Il Hoon Roh is currently working as both architect & designer in London and plan to continue combining two professions in the future.
You can catch him on stand K110 at 100% design

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