Graduation 2016 Project

Sejoon Kim

Department: Contextual Design


If you think these ‘Cute’ designs have a dark twist, you are
right. Sejoon Kim’s research started from the question why he,
as a Korean, appears to be more drawn to this style than the
Europeans around him. This led him to study what ‘cuteness’ is.
For Kim, the root of cuteness is not the protective instinct, but
lies in a social and cultural construct. With its rigid hierarchy,
Confucian culture brought a hidden desire for dominance and
control. The rise of commercialism and its powerful marketing
aimed at children over the past decades did the rest.
Kim believes that when people find something cute, there is
an inherent sense of superiority, domination and even violence.
Satisfying these urges stimulates the human pleasure centres.
Acknowledging both loveliness and darkness can be necessary
and useful; it may help alleviate the human urge for control
and conquest. This is why he has incorporated these conflicting
qualities in his designs.

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Ronald Smits