Design, convenience, outstanding performance – there are several factors to consider when deciding what makes a good product, and consumers make their choices for all kinds of reasons. However, any product that earns the love of consumers deserves to be recognized as a good product in its own way.
Over the summer, we will meet a range of people who share a love for one product in particular: Serif TV. Serif TV is Samsung Electronics’ radically redesigned television that puts an amazing screen into a beautiful physical package, shaped like a capital “I”. For the first story in our People Who Love Serif TV series, we meet two architects who are also a married couple, Jeunghye Park and Kyuho Choi.
A house located high on a quiet mountain, like a monastic village: Skete
After spending a while walking up a mountain road, just outside the Korean countryside village of Yangpeong, we discovered a rather uncanny looking house. In a region known for its fresh, clean air, this building beautifully and effortlessly blends into its natural surroundings. Named “Skete,” it is a house that the England-based architects Jeunghye Park and Kyuho Choi recently built for Choi’s parents.
A “Skete” Refers to a Monastic Community where Monks from the Greek Orthodox Church Reside
The house reflects a wish from Kyuho’s father, who wanted it to be a space of quiet meditation and communication. With a clear, open view, and fresh mountainous air, this beautiful house, in peaceful harmony with its natural surroundings, creates a feeling of serenity just by looking at it. From its location to the selection of materials used, every corner of the house shows the efforts that this young couple poured into making it a comfortable space for Kyuho’s parents.
The precondition for making a good house is ‘harmony’
Skete is largely divided into three spaces.
The living room is the first thing you encounter as you enter the house, a space for friendship and communication, while the half-open study is intended for personal projects like writing and photo editing. The bedroom located upstairs is isolated from the other spaces to provide privacy and relaxation.
As reflected in the composition of the house, where activity and relaxation are adequately balanced, the couple considered “balance” the most important theme when they designed the house. Kyuho says, “Since the shape and location of a house are artificial, the surrounding environment affects them very much. We made a lot of effort to design a house that naturally blends into the natural environment while being beautiful and comfortable.”
All houses age with time.
The couple chose copper cladding for the outer walls of the house so they could see how the house ages over time. To make copper panels whose texture and color look different depending on the angles of light and the seasons of the year, they tried out a number of different plates, changing them before finally deciding on the right type. It was the kind of thoroughness that truly shows the couple’s “architectural approach” to creating a building that fosters balance in the lives of its dwellers and in its relation to the surrounding environment.
The Reason Why They Insist on the Perfect Harmony
The couple firmly believe that finding the right design was vital, especially considering how buildings usually stand for several decades. Kyuho says, “Unless it is a disposable building, things cannot be changed easily once they are done. Since the overall harmony can be broken by even one element being out of the balance, we usually take as much time as we can to consider every aspect thoroughly.”
That same approach applied to the interior of Skete. The couple paid close attention to every detail, carefully constructing the overall atmosphere. They said they gave long, thorough consideration to all elements, including the electric appliances, furniture and gadgets, and where to place each of them.
They collected the interior elements from around Europe, including lighting fixtures that matched the copper panels of the walls, a small built-in dishwasher that was just the right size for the compact kitchen, and faucets that went well with the overall atmosphere inside the house. One item that the couple spent a lot of time looking for was the TV. They had a difficult time finding the right TV, one that blended nicely into the home environment that they had so delicately arranged, and at one point actually gave up on placing a TV in the living room.
Then one day, they came across Serif TV on the internet, and thought, “This is it.” It was a product that naturally blends into the space, just like the way Skete nicely blends into the vast nature that surrounds it. Kyuho remembers, “It was a product that had an airy feeling to it like it was floating in the air. I loved how the design melted into the space so that it could be appreciated as part of the natural flow, rather than giving the impression that it was blocking the space.”
“Our dream is to construct a building that will be loved for a long time”
Jeunghye and Kyuho manage the architecture firm QJ Architecture in London. Like how the name of their company derives from their names – “Q” from the “Kyu” in Kyuho, and “J” from Jeunghye – they rely on each other and support each other as co-workers and a family.
“Sometimes I wonder if others can see that we are doing what is the best for our lives. When those moments come, I ask my wife for a lot of advice. We are honest with each other and are very comfortable around each other, so her advice helps me very much,” Kyuho says.
The two met in university in 2002, at a class they were both taking. Jeunghye was preparing to go to England to study, and Kyuho, who was attending graduate school in Korea at the time, could not bear the thought of being apart from Jeunghye. So he left graduate school, married Jeunghye, and traveled with her to England. They say their life in England felt different and awkward at first, but now they are established architects there. They specialize in building restoration, applying advanced architectural techniques to old and dilapidated buildings to give them new life.
The couple says they want to build buildings that can be loved for a long time. They hope their projects will not only be suitable for the current generation but also be passed on to more generations to come, continuing to be developed and reinterpreted. We hope to see more of Kyuho and Jeunghye’s spectacular works like Skete, beautifully and harmoniously combining nature and architecture.
* The content of this post are based on a sponsorship from Samsung Electronics.