MOHD interviews: Tom Chung and the affective functionalism of the 90s generation

14 October 2022

Tom Chung

Useful and functional design that you can also become attached to: it is the design vision of the 1990s generation

Those born in the 90s are now thirty years old: many of them are going through a first phase of awareness of what they want for their home and the objects they want to surround themselves with. Tom Chung, a young Canadian designer but already the author of a series of successful and impactful projects, also belongs to this generation. Among his latest projects, the Piton lamp for Muuto that follows the very current trend of rechargeable, designed for a hybrid and fluid use that reflects an idea of ​​a flexible home within which Chung and his peers are growing. In his creative path he is inspired by the everyday, and fearlessly welcomes the ideas that come from other design worlds: the Fromme chair for Petite Friture, as he himself says, was born from the study of applied technology, right from the 90s, to mountain bikes. This approach also reflects the desire to surround oneself with objects that are functional and useful but also evocative: objects and furnishings to become attached to.

Tom Chung

What are the priorities in your design approach now?
Right now I am prioritizing simple and durable objects which can still possess a unique and clever character.

Fromme Petite Friture
Fromme chairs by Petite Friture

When and why did you realize that you wanted to be a designer?
In my final year of Highschool I decided to follow my brother who was already studying graphic design at a local Art School. Prior to that I was thinking of studying engineering. I always enjoyed making things over studying, so I think that is what led me to Industrial Design.

MENU Cast Scone
Cast lamp by Menu

Rechargeable/portable lamps are quite new to the consumer and Piton lamp is one of your latest projects: can you tell us more about the uses that you imagine for it?
It works great as a bedside lamp, extra light in the kitchen or really anywhere you can think of. It provides directional and ambient light depending on how you position it and provides a cosy atmosphere wherever you are. I’m looking forward to using it this summer while spending late evenings outside. The starting point of this project was reflecting on how we are living in cities and our desire for wilderness within these spaces.

Piton Muuto
Piton portable lamp by Muuto

I have read that “Fromme is a versatile cafe chair which borrows from the materials and principles of early 90’s mountain biking” could you tell us more about this idea?
The 90’s and 00’s was a great time for mountain bike innovation. CNC technology was new, and early experiments in moving parts would pave the way for modern downhill mountain biking. I was interested in applying the concept of rigid moving parts through suspension to a robust indoor / outdoor café chair. The seat is attached to the frame using rubber suspension, allowing it to move independently.

Fromme Petite Friture
Fromme chairs by Petite Friture

You were born in 1990, what makes a happy home for your generation?
I think my generation is used to renting and living in small spaces. We also grew up in peak 90’s consumerist society, so I think as a result we tend to collect things, and maybe have a stronger attachment to objects and material possessions than others. It is easy to make a small rental feel comfortable and interesting if you fill it with some small idiosyncratic things. When it comes to objects, design, and art I am a huge fan of flea markets and buying stuff from my friends.

Petite Friture Fromme
Petite Friture Fromme
Menu Cast
Menu Cast
Muuto Piton
Muuto Piton

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