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“검이불루 화이불치 (Korean),

Gumleebullu Hwaleebulchi (English phonetics)”

The quote above is an old Korean saying that means, ­

“It is simple but not shabby, and impressive but not extravagant.”

I admire this as an attitude and also as an aesthetic.

Biography

Statement

Nina Cho is an artist and designer, currently based in Detroit. Nina was born in the United States and raised in Korea, where she studied Woodworking and Furniture design at Korea’s art school, Hong-Ik University. She then earned an MFA in 3D Design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the United States. She has been recognized as an Honoree of Sight Unseen’s 2015 American Design Hot List, presented in partnership with Herman Miller and featured as one of Five Breakout Designers of 2015 in Artsy based in the USA. She was nominated for the Pure Talents Contest at Imm Cologne in 2016. She held a residency in 2016 in Tuscany, Italy, sponsored by the London gallery MOS. In 2018, the Toledo Museum of Art invited her to participate in the Guest Artist Pavilion Project. Her work has been featured in Artsy, Wallpaper magazine, and Architectural Digest. She has been invited to shows nationally and internationally in 2016, including exhibitions in London, Milan, Cologne, Frankfurt, Toronto, Seoul, Miami, Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and New York City.


I was born in the United States and raised in Korea. I studied woodworking and furniture design as an undergraduate at Hongik University in Seoul. The program encouraged me to tell my own story and I was taught to create unique pieces of furniture inspired by my identity. I moved to the US shortly after graduating to study 3D Design at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where I found freedom to continue to develop my own process. My education led me to a personal and distinctive approach to design.

In addition to my education, the artistic traditions of my Korean heritage have been influential. My background led me to a reductive aesthetic, in which I merge Eastern philosophy with experimental forms. This concept of emptiness is a traditional Korean aesthetic. In painting, the unpainted portion of a surface is as important as the part that is painted. It is about respecting the emptiness as much as the object. So through practicing the beauty of the void, I respect not only the object itself but also the negative space that an object creates. Rather than a deficiency, the voids welcome in air, surroundings, and the spirit of a space; the empty spaces in my pieces also invite users to creatively complete the work. To balance the positive and negative space, it is essential to explore form. My recent work is focused on reductive forms that blur the line between a piece of art and a design object. By eliminating the extraneous, I aim to simplify not only form, but the fabrication process as well.

 

I use various materials and study how they relate to my philosophy. For the Bent Mirror Series and the Cantilever Table, I explore planar materials like sheet metal to develop my ideas about folding and bending to create a three ­dimensional form. A thin gauge of metal presents this idea well and supports the aesthetic of emptiness by describing positive and negative space. The unique transparent materiality in the glass work, Layering Transparency, reveals overlapping parts of positive and negative space beautifully created from the process of blowing glass. The sculptural forms invite people to interact with the objects in an inventive and personal way. Users have freedom to explore the use of negative space created within an object.

Education 

2013 - 2015

MFA in 3D Design, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

2008 - 2013

BFA in Woodworking and Furniture Design, Hong-Ik University, Seoul, South Korea

Solo Exhibitions

2019

Solo exhibition (The conception), Colony, New York, NY, USA

2015

UNTITLED (Nina Cho Solo Show), Elli Gotlieb Gallery, Chicago, IL, USA

Lectures

2018

GAPP Artist Lecture, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, USA

2018

Artist Lecture, Korean Cultural Center DC, Washington D.C., USA
 

New Domestic Landscape Symposium, deSalle Auditorium, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI, Italy

Residencies

2018

Selected artist for GAPP (The Guest Artist Pavilion Project) Residency,

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, USA

2016

Winner, MOS (Matter of Stuff) Designer Residencies Competition,

Officina Creativa dell’Abitare, Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy

Two Person Exhibitions

2017

The Between, Artbn Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

Selected Group Exhibitions

2019

2019

Coast to Coast, Neue House with Design Milk & Colony, NYC, NY, USA

Chiaroscuro, Next Space Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2019

Safe Space, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, MI, USA

2018

SHAPE: Defining furniture in Michigan’s design legacy, Shinola, Detroit, MI, USA

2018

The Blue Room, 2018 Junior League of Detroit Designer Show House, Charles T. Fisher Mansion, Detroit, MI, USA

2018

Urban Furniture installation at Light Up Livernois during the Detroit Design Festival, Detroit, MI, USA

2018

From then till downtown, 1301 Broadway, Detroit, MI, USA

2018

Sight Unseen OFFSITE Selects during the NYC Design Week, New York, NY, USA

2017

MOS Collection show during the London Design Festival, Sketch, London, UK

2017

SUR/FACE: Mirrors, Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany

2017

Cranbrook: A New Domestic Landscape, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

2017

MOS Collection show during the Salone Del Mobile, ME Milan, Milan, Italy

2017

2017

MIART, Matter of Stuff gallery, Milan, Italy

Prototype, Interior Design Show, Toronto, ON, Canada

2016

PRISMATIC, Korean Cultural Center DC, Washington D.C., USA

2016

The Montalcino Design Week, Matter of Stuff, Montalcino, Italy

2016

Design in Detroit, Robert Adler Gallery, Detroit, USA

2016

Pure Talents Contest, IMM Cologne, Cologne, Germany

2016

2016

TO DO Festival Exhibition: In Series during the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, Toronto, ON, Canada

FORM EVER FOLLOWS, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA, USA

2015

The 9th Cheongju International Craft Biennale, Cheongju, South Korea

2015

Sight Unseen OFFSITE during the NYC Design Week, Hudson Mercantile, New York, NY, USA

2015

ICFF during the NYC Design Week, Javits Center, New York, NY, USA

2015

The 2015 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum,

Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

2014

UP & AT EM (Design Exhibition), Liminal Space in Chicago, IL, USA

2014

EXPERIENCING PERSPECTIVES, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Farmington Hills, MI, USA

2014

FIRST THINGS FIRST, Fab’s Showroom in Soho, New York, NY, USA

2014

PYROCOGNITIONS, Forum Gallery, Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

2014

2014

CRANBROOK INTERIOR, Forum Gallery, Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

EXOTIC FLAVOR, Forum Gallery, Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

2012

Korea/Japan/China Exchange Exhibit, Hong Ik Art center, Seoul, South Korea

2012

Hong Ik University woodworking & Furniture design Graduation Exhibit,

HOMA(Hong Ik museum of art), Seoul, South Korea

2012

Coalition Exhibit(Hong Ik University, Seoul National University, Kook Min University),
Municipal Art Center Kyunghi palace annex Exhibit, Seoul, South Korea

2012

KOFURN Fair, KINTEX, Ilsan, Gyeongi-do, South Korea

2011

2010

HAND MADE KOREA, COEX Exhibit, Seoul, South Korea

Dialogue Method, Gallery BMH, Seoul, South Korea

2010

2010

Street Exhibit, Hong Ik University street, Seoul, South Korea

Dialogue Method, Gallery BMH, Seoul, South Korea

Selected Awards/ Honors

2018

2017

2016

Winner, Urban Furniture Competition for the Detroit Month of Design, USA

Nominated participant of the Prototype, IDS Toronto, Canada

Winner of the MOS Designer Residencies Competition, Italy

2016

2016

2015

2015

Featured piece, UNICEF ART PARTY, USA

Nominated participant of the Pure Talents Contest, IMM Cologne, Germany

Selected designer as one of the 5 Breakout Designers of 2015, Artsy, USA

Selected Honoree of Sight Unseen’s 2015 American Design Hot List, Sight Unseen

(presented in partnership with Herman Miller), USA

2015

Honorable Mention, The 9th Cheongju International Craft Biennale Competition, South Korea

2015

Selected as a Scholarship Awardee for Detroit Creative Corridor Center’s Client Services Boot Camp, Detroit, USA

2015

Nominee, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award Finalist in 3D Design at

Cranbrook Academy of Art, USA

2014

Academic Winner of Design project Kikkerland and Bed Bath & Beyond, USA

2014

Runner Up, the You Are How You Eat design contest, Design Milk (partners at Alessi, Adobe and Shapeways), USA

2014

Selected participant, FIRST THINGS FIRST Show by Fab.com, USA

2012

Selected in Kyungki-province Furniture Design Contest Exhibit(Corporate category), South Korea

2012

Selected in Kyungki-province Furniture Design Contest Exhibit(Freedom category), South Korea

2010

Selected in Junk Art Contest Exhibit, Korea Environment Corporation, Seoul, South Korea

2009

Selected in Steel Furniture Design Competition, Korea Iron&Steel Association, Seoul, South Korea

Work Experience

2015 - Current

Current Founder and Designer of Nina Cho LLC, Detroit, MI, USA

2016

Partnership with Tait Design Co. Licensing the Spinning Top and Stand Design to Tait Design Co, Detroit, MI, USA

2016

2016

Partnership with MOS and Carrara Design Factory, Licensing the Coulee Furniture and Product Collection to MOS, London, UK The collection manufactured by Carrara Design Factory, Carrara, Italy
 

Partnership with Souda, Licensing the Wave Business Card Holder design to Souda, New York City, NY, USA

2016

Partnership with GKC, Licensing the Spout (Soap Container and Toothbrush Holder) design to GKC, Taipei, Taiwan

2014 - 2015

Department Assistant for 3D model shop at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI

2014

Assistant Designer, Scott Klinker Product Design (Designer-in-Residence in 3D design at Cranbrook Academy of Art), Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

2013

Product Design and Sale in Tiny-Big Corporation as a designer, Seoul, South Korea

2012

Furniture redesign project with MOBELAB Corporation as a designer, Seoul, South Korea

2012

Work in LIO GALLERY as an assistant, Paju-si, South Korea

2010

Hong Ik University Design Club ‘open space 505’ as a chairman, Seoul, South Korea

2009

Product Design and Sale in SangSangMadang Design Shop as a designer, Seoul, South Korea

Teaching Experience

2020

 Adjunct Faculty - Visual Communication II, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI, USA

2017 - 2019

Adjunct Faculty - Drawing for a Winning Portfolio, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI, USA

2019

Visiting Designer/Critic - the Advanced Fabrication review, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI, USA

2018

Visiting Designer/Critic - Life Drawing, Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI, USA

2018

Adjunct Faculty - Product Design for the Future, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI, USA

2018

Adjunct Faculty - Minimalist Furniture Design, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI, USA

2018

Visiting Designer/Critic - Space Studio, Wayne State University, Southfield, MI, USA

2015

Visiting Designer/Critic - Furniture and Millwork, Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI, USA

Certification

2012

Crafts (Korean Traditional Woodworking) Certification, KOUS (Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation), South Korea

Partner/Client List

Colony, NYC, USA

Not So General, LA, USA

Minotti, Miami, USA

Reunion, NYC, USA

Next Space Gallery, Detroit, USA 

Ddc, NYC, USA

Jean-Louis Deniot, Paris, France

Souda, NYC, USA

Matter of Stuff, London, England

GKC, Taipei, Taiwan

Five and Dime, Seoul, South Korea

Lori Margolis, NYC, USA

Tait Design Co, Detroit, USA

 © 2019 by Nina Cho LLC