Jae Choi: balance by design.

by Eduardo Mautner
24 October 2022

"I realized that being in the middle isn’t so bad. It also has a positive meaning: being a connector."

Jae Choi

BFA - Industrial Design
Class of 2023


Portfolio Website:

Jae is a fourth-year student at Rhode Island School of Design pursuing a BFA degree in industrial design with a keen interest in product and furniture design. Her passion comes from demonstrating a strong understanding of the new product development process and transforming concepts and ideas into detailed design.

EM: What is your biggest creativity-related interest at the moment?

JC: I enjoy being up to date with the latest trends in interior design by watching videos online. On one hand, I appreciate how widely varied a “home” might look depending on the people that inhabit that space, but on the other hand, there are definite trends that drive people's decisions. I believe that being current with these trends will bring relevancy to my work. Another reason why I am interested in interior design is that it is such a good resource to get inspirations for CMF design by catching the details of the input and processing how these details can bring different outputs to the space. Keeping in mind how different colors, materials, and finishes can bring the identity of space and applying these catalysts in my projects always excites me.

Where else do you get inspiration? Does any artist or designer in particular inspire you?

JC: Where do I get inspiration? I don't think I have a specific artist that I get inspiration from, especially if I'm trying to ideate for my projects. I mostly go through the current products in the market, find problems, and then start brainstorming thinking “what kind of elements could I change and bring a new design to it.” I try to apply my design language for better usage. But if I have to choose, the designer that is iconic to me is Verner Panton.

EM: Nice. We move to the third question?

JC: Aham.

EM: Alright. Does your personal background influence your work?

JC: Does my personal background influence my work? I never thought about this. Actually, for my personal background, I grew up as a middle child, and I’m from the middle of nowhere where I had a feeling that I’ve always been stuck in the middle. But as I was growing up, I realized that being in the middle isn’t so bad. It also has a positive meaning: being a connector. I consider myself a connector who connects the first and last, but also a connector between the design and the users. Also being an international student, living in and traveling to different cities gave me opportunities to explore a variety of design fields. From these experiences, I realized how broad can design be, which excites me to think about what kind of design aspect I would be working for or where I will end up living. I think these thoughts make me want to explore more in the design field rather than just being stuck in one concept. I would enjoy having a defined concept as a designer, but for now, I think what I need is to explore as much as I can and then move on to settle down with my design identity. Thinking back to your question, I guess my personal background made me explore more, in a broad way, not being stuck in one.

EM: Nice. And what would you say is your biggest challenge when it comes to design process?

JC: Biggest challenge? This might sound pretty cliche, but I guess the biggest challenge is to come up with something that other people haven't done. As a person who works in the creative industry, being different from others and how my identity can bring positive influences to the world would be the biggest challenge for me.

EM: But would you say that there is, like, originality in the first place?

JC: I guess there is originality for sure, but it’s just how the idea was produced from originality but becomes more valuable. Well, I guess this question is pretty hard, asking about originality.

EM: Yeah, it's super open ended.

JC: Yeah. I believe that there is originality, but it just depends on how the originality was used.

EM: Like how it's applied.

JC: I would like to add to the biggest challenge question that I have to constantly satisfy myself in the end. Even though I've come up with a great project, I'm always not satisfied. But I think this process motivates me, even more, to bring different ideas with different projects because I want to make something that satisfies both the users and myself. 

So it's both a challenge and a virtue.

JC: Yeah.

EM: Nice. This is, like, really far out, but what are your predictions for art and design over the next ten years?

JC: I would not expect myself to give up on what I'm working on. I really want to continue working as a designer/creator in the next ten years. I never thought of having a dream or an end goal, because my ultimate end goal is to make a home that is “home” to me. I don't think I've ever thought of something ambitious career-wise. But I would ask you, what do you see me as in ten years?

EM: I see Jae in the cover of a famous magazine or who knows. I feel like your work is very- I don't know if this word is grammatically correct, but it has a lot of authorship, you know what I mean? It's got your signature in a way. So I feel like I see you definitely being a more, at least I could say, form-based designer, if that makes sense. Like, lots of aesthetic, but also a concern for the user in all projects.

JC: Yeah, I wish I become a designer who can both satisfy users and myself. I don't want to be an artist who only tries to push my aesthetics. But I don't really know. I think I'm just busy working on my own projects right now. I never thought of what I'll be in the next ten years, but I wish this for sure- that I don't give up on what I'm working on.

EM: So you really, like, live in the present. Last one, how would you define your art & design philosophy and end goal?

JC: I am interested in design’s ability to connect form and function, and how straightforward but complicated this can be. I am also curious how these qualities become my own language in communicating my thoughts and desires. I recall being frustrated growing up as a middle child; only receiving hand-me-downs from my elder sister yet being expected to provide for my little sister. However, through design, I found power in this afloat status, and that is to participate as a connector in all relationships. Being this intermediary self allows me to think about harmony, interrelations, and balance. I want to become a designer who can communicate with everyone around me, ultimately becoming the catalyst to bring the first and last, and many other opposing concepts to coexist together. My end goal as a designer is more straightforward: building a home that feels like “home” to me. As an international student with experience of always having to move to a new house, the question (or perhaps the answer) of building a home that feels “home” becomes central to my practice.

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