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How Studio Studio of Seoul, Korea, Designs Away the Clutter and Distractions of a Busy City

Despite its double name, Studio Studio is a one-person operation based in Seoul, Korea. Founded by Do Gwanghun — a man of many hats who holds degrees in both architectural design and urban planning — Studio Studio’s projects range from architecture to furniture to gardening. Calling upon disparate influences like Frank Lloyd Wright, Max Lamb, and Kazuo Shinohara, Do insists that his projects do not have a particular through line. In our conversation, though, he reveals that his design ethos comes from the vantage point of that which is concealed in order to heighten the experience.

For a design competition for a new marina on the Han River (a major river flowing through the heart of Seoul, along which residents get together with friends to picnic, drink beer, watch fireworks, bike, and partake in other recreational and social activities) Do wanted visitors to momentarily forget about the diversions built along the waterway and rather to ponder the natural qualities of the river. To do so, Do submerged the entry to the marina at a subterranean level, at the same height as the the water level, for a “primordial” experience of the river.

In another project, the design of a restaurant in Incheon, Korea, Do relied on a gigantic curved wooden wall along the dining space to conceal the inner workings of the restaurant, and to preserve the magic of the dining experience away from the bustle of the kitchen. An office space presented a similar challenge — to create the veneer of peace, order, and beauty. Do’s inventive solution came in the form of angular, minimal furniture, as well as a curved moveable walls that could be adjusted to hide sinks, refrigerators, trash cans and other realities of a busy, functional workspace. Do explains his creative process by saying: “To be honest, there are a lot of ideas that come about just by staring blankly into space.” Perhaps Studio Studio’s vision, though, lies in seeing what is not there — or, more specifically, making invisible all that is unsightly and extraneous about modern life.

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