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Title SeoulTech Entrepreneurial Corporation FUNCXION Receives the Grand Prize at the Asia Design Prize for “Island Glass”
Writer admin ReadCount 406 Date 2021-03-10
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SeoulTech Entrepreneurial Corporation FUNCXION Receives the Grand Prize at the Asia Design Prize for “Island Glass”
Received the grand prize at the 2021 Asia Design Prize for their premium soju glass

 

FUNCXION, a company located at the Nowon Green Campus Town and created by SeoulTech students, received the top award at the 2021 Asia Design Prize for their Island Glass.

 

The Asia Design Prize is Asia’s largest design award and selects award winners on their project’s rarity, functionality and aesthetics. Island Glass or “Sumjan” was recognized for its excellence in design and received the grand prize given only to the top 1% of designed products.

 

▲Island Glass 'Dokdo', 'Ulleungdo'

 

FUNCXION is a company located at the Nowon Green Campus Town and founded by SeoulTech Visual Design Major Kang Min Seok (President), Metal Craft and Industrial Design Major Sohn Chi Hyun and Visual Design Major Cho Jung Han. They designed the premium soju glass called Island Glass in the shapes of Dokdo and Ulleungdo Island.

 

The Nowon Green Campus Town is a campus project that uses the strengths of ▲SeoulTech, ▲Seoul Women’s University, ▲Samyook University, etc. in order to cultivate entrepreneurs, provide entrepreneurship education and vitalize the local economy and culture.

 

This year’s competition included a total of 3,187 projects from 36 countries such as the United States, China, Japan, Singapore, etc. Island Glass received the grand prize after being reviewed by a panel of 45 experts from 9 countries including the famous Kareem Rashid. As recent international design competitions have been dominated by large corporations, it is a significant achievement that three young designers were able to reinterpret Korean culture in their premium soju glass project and receive the top award at an international competition.

 

Island Glass received explosive amounts of support during its three crowdfunding phases and received positive reviews from consumers. FUNCXION is expected to launch its own online shopping mall in the first half of this year.

 

We asked FUNCXION President Kang Min Seok and CMO Cho Jung Han on their creative process and Island Glass.

 

 

Q. Could you introduce FUNCXION to us?

FUNCXION is a ‘brand builder’ type company that creates values in brands. We develop and operate brands in artworks and fashion based on design and manufacturing while presenting a sustainable market strategy and brand direction.

 

Q. How did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

All three of our FUNCXION employees met during college. As friends, while we knew what kind of field we were each interested in or what our strengths were, we never imagined that we would end up working with one another because at the time, we were only meeting one another, drinking and sharing our worries as friends do.

However, as we got to know each other better, we started teaming up to participate in projects, competitions and external projects with each other and realized that we could work well together. We also worked at the same company for a while and decided to become entrepreneurs where we could work on projects that we wanted rather than live a more traditional and mundane corporate life. We all agreed that entrepreneurship was more appealing as we could decide what we wanted to do for ourselves and afterwards, after receiving support from the government, competitions and entrepreneurship programs, we received recognition for our design skills and business marketing and ended up making the Island Glass project.

 

Q. Why did you design the Island Glass?

We wanted to create a different type of tourist souvenirs as pre-existing souvenirs and the tourism market did not use Korea’s cultural diversity to its fullest and there were too many similar products. In Germany or Japan, there are many great souvenirs that take advantage of each region’s characteristics and have received global recognition. We believe that is a result of systematically supporting its artists and has led to cases in which culture and tradition have lasted for multiple generations.

Island Glass is a premium soju glass that is shaped like the Dokdo and Ulleungdo islands. We created our own proprietary Korean font and the name of the island decides the overall shape of the glass. Using the structure of Korean as the foundation, we were able to show the flexible relationship in Hangul’s ability to deliver information and where the shape of each letter can also deliver information. As we put our glass upside down before eating in Korean culture, we placed the Korean lettering on the bottom of the glass.

We wish to introduce more products that reflect the culture and traditions of Korea in the future.

 

Q. Are there any challenges or memories that you wish to share?

We faced some challenges in the commercialization of Island Glass during the manufacturing phase. As the Island Glass is not your typical glass, detailed refinement was necessary and we also had to consider real use cases such as gripping the glass or making sure that the bottom of the glass was leveled out which were factors that we had not properly addressed during the conceptual phase. We invested a lot of time and funding in fixing the overall shape and concept of the glasses until we were all satisfied with the results. It was a necessary process where we needed to understand the difference between conceptual design and manufacturing but as a design major, we learned a lot about how to approach these issues as we didn’t want to give up on the design that we wanted to express. Looking back, while we had some issues, we look back on that  time very fondly as a high quality product was able to be created.

After we received our crowdfunding, all three of us went out to drink and the store that we went to was using Island Glass. We were very happy to see our work not just through social media reviews but being used in real life. We also talked to the store owner about the Dokdo and Ulleungdo islands and entrepreneurship as well and it was a very memorable experience. We believe that being able to form a connection with our consumers on a subject is one of the greatest strengths of being entrepreneurs.

 

Q. Do you have any advice for SeoulTech students thinking about becoming entrepreneurs?

We also gained more confidence in entrepreneurship as we were studying business processes and it was natural for us because we loved designing itself. However, starting a business in reality is a very different problem. You are not just someone’s employee but you have to lead and work and study harder than anyone else in order to become a true entrepreneur. I often hear people recommending starting their own companies if they are not sure they want to work for a company. However, I think that entrepreneurs find their greatest fulfillment when they start creating because they want to and not as a separate option they can take if they don’t want to work for a traditional company.

 

Q. What are your plans after the Dokdo and Ulleungdo Island Glass?

Currently, after the Dokdo and Ulleungdo Island glass, we are planning an entire product line of tableware that can show Korean culture and traditions by using ceramics and metals.
It is now our third year of starting our business but we are often tempted as we work when we face questions such as increased margins  to decrease our manufacturing costs and use aggressive marketing tactics to increase our revenue. However, instead of becoming a brand pursuing short term gains and becoming a short term trend and fading away, we want to become a Korean lifestyle brand that teaches Korean traditions and culture for a long time. We are proud of creating products that will be loved by our consumers for very long periods of time.

We hope that we won’t lose sight of our mission and that we won’t just create products designed beautifully but make products that satisfy our intent, design and usability.

 

 

 

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232 Gongneung-ro, Nowon-gu, Seoul, 01811, korea
Tel : +82-2-970-6114,7114 Fax : +82-2-970-6088