Interview with designer Jung Hee Kim (JK), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Tree of Life Ring.

For High-Resolution Images & More Info Visit:

Interview with Jung Hee Kim at Friday 22nd of April 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
JK : ‘Tree of Life’ has been a sacred symbol of ‘circle of life’ and ‘vitality of life’ since ancient times. The holiness in the tree inspired this ring collection.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
JK : I tried to embrace a long-cherished human desire for the immortality in my work. ‘Tree of Life’ is a representation of an eye of wisdom and circle and vitality of life that human have been longing for. In addition, I tried to look for a potential and prospects of modern jewelry.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
JK : ‘Tree of Life’ is rather a living project. I am continuously working and will work to develop it as a series of collection.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
JK : From the conception to the birth of ‘Tree of Life’, it took for about one and half years since April 2014.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
JK : ‘Tree of Life’ is to pursuit my inspiration. Since 2013, I have designed with the concept of tree and concentrated on bringing life to my artworks. The texture of tree represents my inspiration. I tried to reinterpret jewelry as a part of metal craft with function and practical value added.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
JK : I have the exclusive rights to produce and sell ‘Tree of Life.’

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
JK : The project, ‘Tree of Life,’ inspired by the nature focuses more on the design intention rather than the design itself. The base of this ring lies on the abstract and implicative values of trees rather than their physical shapes. I intended to beautifully chant the immortality, deeply appreciate being alive as trees humbly accept the circle of life and fully portrait the happiness that I enjoy as alive. Naturally flowing curves across the series of this project indicate perpetuity of life and the harmonious combination of different gemstones represents the complexity of life.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
JK : I don’t think so. Since college, I have been interested in the nature. I strongly believe that all designs come from the nature and thus designers are inspired by the nature.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
JK : Females in 30’s who look for uniqueness.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
JK : ‘Tree of Life’ is a harmonious combination of different gemstones and adopted prong setting to mount main gemstones and only used curved lines to crystallize the energy of life.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
JK : The nature of trees such as how trees branch out toward the sky or their constantly regenerated vitality is the main inspiration of this project. Colored gemstones and pearls represent ceaselessly repeated life and spiral branches and fluid forms and curves embracing the gemstones imply the vitality of life and hope in human. Trees represent the life cycles and therefore I name this project as ‘Tree of Life.’

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
JK : ‘Tree of Life’ is a hand crafted jeweled ring. I adopted wax carving method to formulate free curved lines. I used soft wax instead of general hard wax.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
JK : The project, ‘Tree of Life,’ inspired by the nature focuses more on the design intention rather than the design itself. The base of this ring lies on the abstract and implicative values of trees rather than their physical shapes.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
JK : This ring collection adopted soft-wax casting method. I hand-crafted soft wax to make a model of this ring. Casting and setting gems were done by skilled experts.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
JK : A wax carving method is optimal to express my free curves. Especially, soft wax that I used enabled me to craft curved lines easily.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
JK : This ring was created in the hope of breaking the stereotype that artistic jewelry is non-wearable or uncomfortable. Instead I intended to create a ring with values of scarcity and practicality as well as artistry. On top of that, I also hope people who wear this ring truly appreciate the story in it so that it would not be affected by the change of trend in the passage of time. Like constantly repeated life of human being, I hope my ring can be loved beyond ages and I hope my ring can transcend time and space forever.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
JK : ‘Tree of Life’ is rather curvilinear without standardized pattern and thus requires meticulous attention to adjust the thickness of wax. However, I believe that the method that I applied is optimal to craft the desired design despite long required time. In addition, adjusting the proper working temperature was challenging as well. At a low temperature, wax gets chipped off or broken. On the other hand at a high temperature, wax gets melted. I paid attention in particular to maintain optimal room and spatula temperature.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
JK : I believe that design is a universal visual language. My designs have already earned recognition in Korea and I have loyal customers. I wanted to test if my designs can be recognized in the international arena as well by taking part in A’ Design Award & Competition.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
JK : I have designed jewelry whose motif is nature. In the past, I focused on visual representations but now I more focus on abstract expressions and the story behind them.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
JK : ‘Tree of Life’ is inspired by the nature. I hope the wearers can also understand the concept and message underlying this design not just the design itself.