My name is Taehak Kwon and I am an Industrial Designer at Essential. This past April, I left South Korea, my close friends, and family to pursue my design career in the U.S. with Essential. Designing and making is a passion of mine that extends beyond the workplace, and since moving to Boston I have picked up creative hobbies that challenge and push me to learn new skills. Here’s some insight into how design is present in all aspects of my life, shaping the way I spend my time outside of the office.
A few months ago, a friend of mine bestowed me with her old Schwinn cruiser bike before moving back to Korea. The bike was in a poor condition; rust covered the frame and the bike desperately needed serious safety and appearance tuning (see image above).
Although I never owned a bike before and knew very little about fixing bikes, I had a very clear vision for the bike’s design and I was up for the challenge of bringing that vision to life. I found inspiration from bikes around the city, giving me a more clear design vision of the details, shape and fabrics used.
I wanted to transform the loud red, white and blue bike with old locks dangling from the frame (the keys long-ago lost) into a sleek black satin frame with a brown leather saddle. So I started by stripping the bike of all unessential parts and quickly realized that rebuilding the bike with the design I had in mind would be no simple task (see image below).
Over a two-month period I spent my evenings disassembling, removing rust, lubricating, stripping existing paint, priming, painting and reassembling the parts. The process required patience and attention to detail but I am now very satisfied with my bike and use it as my primary form of transportation. This project reflected my overall design philosophy, which is pursuing unique, simple and long lasting designs. My bike now has a clean and timeless look but is not yet unique; designing a label for my bike is a project for another day (see image below).