Think Outside with Dongsei Kim


The last in the series of Think Outside Design + Conflict talks will focus on the theme Remember. South-Korean based designer Dongsei Kim from Axu Studio will be one of our guest speakers on the night. He is an architect, urbanist and educator. Dongsei teaches at Korea University in Seoul and has also taught at Columbia University, RMIT University, Monash University and Carleton University. Please meet Dongsei – find out a little bit more about the man and what is in store for you when you attend Think Outside.

What does a typical day look like for you?

To be fit, I try to jog a few times a week. Apart from this, there is no typical day for me. When university is on, I prepare for classes before I teach. Before and after this time is usually filled with meetings with other collaborators. For example, just before a faculty meeting today I had a Skype meeting with a medical doctor in Canada with whom I am collaborating to investigate the relationship between health and suburbia. It was quickly followed by a Skype call to Zurich to talk to another collaborating architect to work on an article on architecture’s relationship to capitalism. Lastly, there is always my ongoing PhD that I spend a chunk of my time on.

What can attendees to the Think Outside lecture expect to hear?

I hope to communicate how our societies can be more proactive in thinking about regressive exclusions in our societies. Furthermore, I hope to discuss how imagining the impossible through design can ignite conversations for actions that can bring about a more inclusive society.

Where do you go to get inspiration?

I get inspirations from people. Ultimately whatever we do is about people and how we relate to each other. These people can be famous people we all know from books or media, but also ordinary everyday people I meet. I believe that there is always something to learn from other people if you are open and pay attention.

What are your top five favourite design books?

It is hard to select a ‘top five’, however these are some I can think of that I often go back to every now and then:

Architecture and Disjunction by Bernard Tschumi

S,M,L,XL edited by Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau

Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte

Yes Is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution by Bjarke Ingels

Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture edited by James Corner

If you weren’t in your current profession, what would you do?

As I enjoy and am passionate about what I do right now, it is a bit hard to imagine an alternative. However, I am guessing I might be in the legal profession that focuses on making changes for a better future.

What has been your greatest achievement?

I don’t believe in giving rankings to my life experiences. However, if one had to, I would give a cliché answer: I hope the latest project I work on and the next project I work on to be my greatest achievement.

What is one piece of advice you wish you had received when you were first starting out in your profession?

This is something I constantly try to tell myself again and again. Don’t be anxious about the future, take the time to do the things you have passion for in the present moment. Don’t worry about what others think and be true to yourself.

What inspires your work?

Working with people who love their work and are passionate inspires me. People who can think critically and make that extra step to take action inspire me the most.

What principles inform your work?

Diligence, being true, and pursuing passion.

Do you have any tips for getting your ideas off the ground?

Talking to the right people who have already been there always helped me. Getting advice from the right people in the field always helped me to be firmly grounded. Plus it helped me to figure out what realities I needed to overcome in getting things to move forward.

What role do you think design can play in addressing 21st century problems/challenges that are typically considered outside of the realm of design?

Design—especially as a process—is a powerful tool for engaging, processing, and analysing large amounts of data and parties involved. Design’s ability to synthesise and transform information into knowledge that challenge existing conventions, and its ability to generate new questions will become more important roles of design in the future.

Who is your double doppelgänger? Double doppelgänger (noun). Two people that resemble you when their faces are combined. Example: The Queen = Elizabeth Taylor and Dame Edna

Not sure…..


Location: The Edge Auditorium, level 1, The Edge, State Library

Date:  Wed 11 November 2015

Time: 6.30pm–8pm (5.30pm for networking drinks)

Cost: Free, bookings required