Interview with I-Chung Hung of Atelier Lumenplus

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I-Chung Hung

I-Chung Hung, the founder of Atelier Lumenplus, developed a love for graffiti and a deep appreciation for art and design in her youth. She chose to study interior design at university, where she first delved into lighting design during an elective course, igniting her passion for the field.

Interview With The 2023 MUSE Design Awards Winner – I-Chung Hung

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I'm I-Chung Hung, the founder of Atelier Lumenplus. My fascination with graffiti on walls dates back to my childhood, and I've always had a deep appreciation for art and design. Balancing my ideals with the practical aspects of life, I decided to pursue a degree in the interior design department at university. It was during an elective lighting design course that my journey in this field truly began.

After graduation, I clearly felt the impact of light on space while working in a display and stage design firm. The magic of light drove me to make the great decision going to Parsons School of Design in New York for the lighting design program and then plunge into the world of lighting till now.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

My early interest in art and hobbies led me to attend a special art class during elementary school. The joyful memories of traditional Chinese painting, calligraphy, pottery, printmaking, and carving have left a lasting impression on me.

As I grew older, I embarked on my college journey, delving into the world of interior design as a means to infuse aesthetics into everyday life. Equipped with a solid foundation in interior design, I advanced into more specialized realms, honing my skills in lighting design and ultimately becoming a professional in this field.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
Established in 2019, Atelier Lumenplus is a lighting design consultancy offering a range of services. With a team of seasoned designers, we specialize in professional lighting design for interior, architecture, landscape, and custom luminaire design. We are known for our customer-centric approach and innovative problem-solving. Our unwavering commitment to meticulous attention and investment in every stage, from concept to completion, is a core principle that guides our work.
4What does “design” mean to you?

Design isn't merely about ideation and drafting blueprints. Transforming a vision into reality demands the establishment of well-defined objectives and a robust strategy for achievement. It encompasses both creative ingenuity and pragmatic implementation, with each facet being indispensable.

As for aesthetics, it's the exterior presentation that catches the eye. Achieving an ideal equilibrium between emotion and functionality represents the art of melding sensitivity with reason. The ultimate outcome revolves around the enchanting effects and ambiance that emerge from the interplay between these vital elements.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
Lighting design is the practical utilization of light as an artistic medium that bridges the gap between light, life, and the surroundings. The physics behind light generation, the physiological aspects of what we perceive, and the psychological influence of the visual environment all come into play. Light, with its intangible and elusive nature, encompasses a multitude of intricate layers and facets, making the realm of lighting design an inherently captivating and absorbing field.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
Exceptional design, irrespective of its dimensions or format, possesses the capacity to genuinely convey inner emotions, infuse an artistic dimension into the design, animate visual and emotional bonds, and enhance the positive interplay between light and our everyday experiences.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

Our design philosophy centers on human perception. We work closely with clients, architects, and interior designers to create space aesthetics and lighting effects tailored to individual requirements. Every project serves as a canvas where we highlight its distinctive features and mold the atmosphere with a careful balance of emotional appeal and functionality.

Picture a light as radiant as jade, with its warm luster. In each project, we provide a unique and sophisticated interplay of light and shadow, mirroring the elegance of this precious gem, ensuring a one-of-a-kind and appropriate visual experience.

8Tell us about your design process.

Lighting design seamlessly integrates with the environment of interior, architectural, and landscape settings. Our approach commences with an in-depth exploration of the distinct characteristics and design philosophy of the space. Once we have gained a comprehensive understanding and carefully pondered the nuances, we nurture the core concept of our lighting design.

This entails formulating a comprehensive vision of the lighting ambiance, skillfully balancing various elements, and making prudent choices to execute it through the most appropriate and precise lighting methods.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
Over time, my country has warmly welcomed a fusion of foreign cultures. This rich history has nurtured our adaptability and open-mindedness, providing a driving force behind our limitless creativity in the realm of design. Unrestricted by creative constraints, we enthusiastically dive into new approaches, conjuring inventive solutions meticulously tailored to the specific context of each project.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
Winning the 2023 MUSE Design Awards is a profoundly significant milestone for our team. It stands as a testament to the principle that persistence and unwavering commitment to your work will ultimately lead to the recognition it merits.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The inspiration behind the lighting concept for my country’s inaugural synagogue comes from the Jewish holiday melody, "Banu choshech legaresh" (Song of Hanukkah). At its essence, this concept embodies the notion of everlasting light. We translated this idea into the very exterior of the structure, molding it into the semblance of a candle's flame, serving as a guiding light amidst the darkness. The spirit of eternal light effortlessly permeates every corner of the interior.

This distinctive project eloquently showcases our nation's cultural diversity and spirit of inclusivity. The lighting concept's simplicity and strength are interwoven throughout the entire endeavor, culminating in a masterful execution. It's this exceptional integration that led us to select this project as a testament to our design acumen.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The restoration of the Jewish Taiwan Cultural Association stands as a remarkable endeavor centered around an aged structure. To rejuvenate the exterior, we introduced custom-made, low-wattage lamps into the building's original distinctive windows, effectively conveying the historical and emotional dimensions of Jewish teachings.

Within the interior, we captured the essence of enduring faith by paying scrupulous attention to the finer details and opting for simple fixture designs. This allowed us to encapsulate the religion's rich cultural and spiritual essence. Despite the need for versatile functionality, we maintained cost-effectiveness by implementing a switch-based control system. Successfully partitioning the circuit into 6 zones to meet a variety of functional requirements presented us with a notable challenge that we adeptly conquered.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

We are much more confident! Despite being a lighting design company with less than five years of experience, our inaugural participation in a competition didn't just bring one award but two. This achievement validates our path and shows that we're on the right track.

As we look ahead, our dedication to our mission has only grown stronger. We're determined to double our efforts in creating exceptional lighting environments that harness the illuminating power of light to enrich our lives.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
Imagination, creativity and practice.
15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

In my country, we find our vitality in the design field through the combination of a welcoming, open-minded demeanor and a rich multicultural environment.

Our ability to thrive stems from our capacity to harness the strengths of various cultural influences while safeguarding our distinctive local characteristics. The design industry in our nation is all about skillfully capturing and expressing this diverse cultural tapestry, transforming it into a wellspring of inspiration and innovation.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

As we peer into the future, the design industry is poised for some intriguing transformations. It extends beyond the introduction of new creative techniques and styles; the subtle integration of artificial intelligence and big data into our daily lives is underway. It's possible that computers and machines may increasingly assume responsibilities such as data collection and generation.

In light of this surge in data, designers are poised to embrace a more expansive role, guiding the way and fostering deeper interdisciplinary partnerships. However, one certainty remains: the unique essence of a designer's perspective and creativity cannot be replicated by machines, and this belief remains steadfast within our community.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Your thoughts shape your reality. Every journey starts with a single step. Follow your heart's dreams and diligently work towards their realization.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
Read books, watch movies, see exhibitions, go traveling, you will find beautiful things from all aspects and this will build your own aesthetic system and database. The most important thing is to keep the curiosity of the designer at all times!
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
During my high school years, I expressed my aspirations in my "My Will" essay, writing, "I aspire to become an interior designer, creating homes illuminated with warm lights, welcoming people back." It's a rare privilege to be one of the fortunate few who have seen their childhood dreams come true.
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Rafael Nadal is my favorite tennis player! It’s not just for his skill or performance but more to his mindset and personality. His enthusiasm and perseverance on the court, as well as his and the low-keyness and humility off the court, have always been a great inspiration in life for me. His fighting spirit is worth learning from, especially when encountering difficulties and challenges.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
All that is necessary is an accumulation bit by bit, that's all!

Winning Entry

Eternal Light / Jewish Taiwan Community Center | 2023

Eternal Light / Jewish Taiwan Community Center | Huai Chun Liu

Eternal Light. Jewish Taiwan Cultural Association is the first synagogue in Taiwan. The concept of lighting …
(Read more at MUSE Design Awards)

I-Chung Hung

I-Chung Hung, the founder of Atelier Lumenplus, developed a love for graffiti and a deep appreciation for art and design in their youth. She chose to study interior design at university, where she first delved into lighting design during an elective course, igniting her passion for the field.

Read more about this interview with Huai Chun Li of Atelier Lumenplus, the Gold Winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards.