Taiho Shin

Seoul, Republic of Korea | Wood: Hard maple

Taiho Shin is the founder of M. 0, a material-driven design company that develops new materials for designing products. After graduating with a MA in Design Products at the RCA in 2019, Shin started his own business in Korea. He had previously been working for Hyundai as a senior designer for 5 years. He believes that experiment-driven projects can contribute to shaping our future, and can lead to many innovative outcomes. On the basis of these beliefs, he created projects ranging from paper-based furniture to a service design for public transportation, receiving several prominent recognitions such as iF, Reddot and Blueprint awards.

‘Objects help human resilience through unusual situations.’
  • The design process

    ‘I wanted to give people their humanity back. We’ve been communicating on screens but we need touch. That was the thought I had when I saw the brief from AHEC,’ Shin says. ‘I thought it was time for designers to do something for the people who face this unusual situation because the pandemic has driven a dramatic change. I think we can help people become more stable or comfortable. It’s an opportunity for the industry to do something.’ 

  • The making of the final piece

    The piece is based around a joint, made of a handful of components that essentially wedge the leg and the table top together without the need for glue. Importantly too, the product plays with consumers’ expectations of flat-pack furniture. ‘Normally DIY furniture is made with plywood or MDF, while hardwood is for crafted pieces. But I wanted to give the user more chances to touch and feel the real wood and making is a good way to do that I think,’ says Shin. When a number of the tables are stacked on top of one another – the top peg locating on the underside of the leg – they form a shelving system. 

  • The end result

    Shin created a low table, only 400mm high, that users are invited to assemble themselves. Ikare takes its cues from ‘the IKEA effect’, which was identified by a trio of academics – Michael I. Norton from Harvard Business School, Yale’s Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely of Duke – who published three studies in 2011, suggesting that consumers place a disproportionately high value on products they've partially created. ‘I just wanted to distort IKEA’s meaning,’ explains the Seoul-based designer. ‘Ikare about the earth; Ikare about the object; and Ikare about the people. My philosophy is encapsulated by that word.’