Interview with I-Wen Chien of Gukang Co.,Ltd

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I-Wen Chien

I-Wen Chien is driven by a fervor for creating environmentally friendly, non-toxic products that enhance cooking safety and convenience, all while upholding the principles of ESG. She frequently contemplates how to merge kitchen safety with product design, enabling everyone to cook with confidence and reducing the likelihood of mishaps.

Interview With The 2023 MUSE Design Awards Winner – I-Wen Chien

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

My name is I-Wen Chien, a graduate of the Economics Department at National Chengchi University, and I currently hold the position of General Manager at Gukang Co., Ltd. I’m a devoted mother of three and I embarked on a vegetarian journey at the age of 20.

By the age of 30, I had explored nearly 40 countries! My passion lies in child sexual abuse prevention, and my mission revolves around designing eco-friendly, non-toxic products to promote safe and effortless cooking practices, all while adhering to the principles of ESG.

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

I often think about how to combine kitchen safety with products so that everyone can cook with peace of mind and reduce the occurrence of disasters.

According to the statistics of the fire department, the proportion of fires caused by "stove cooking" ranks first. And my mission is to make products that can prevent human negligence fires caused by empty burns, and to protect the elderly and those with poor memory in the home, hoping people all over the world can be free from the fear of kitchen fires.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

Gukang Co., Ltd. was established in 1993 and the core value of our company is "Safety, Innovation, and Green". We base our products on health principles and ensure they adhere to the highest international quality criteria.

We are able to manage everything from product design to function research and development to mold manufacturing. The uniqueness of our goods has been fully patented in numerous nations across the globe, and we have won numerous international innovation prizes and awards of excellence.

4What does “design” mean to you?
Design is not just a beautification process but a way to solve problems without changing how you are used to cooking. We consider the customer's safety and home safety into product design so that our designs can improve living while also promoting safety and ease.
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

To maximize its value, an excellent design should be both aesthetically beautiful and safe. Our product design considers the fact that elderly people do not easily change their habits over time, so users do not need to change their initial cooking habit and stove at home, which can improve the use of the elders in the household.

Instead, simply replace the switch to "Peace of Mind Off" to use. The cooking process is automatically managed by an AI microcomputer which is simple and convenient to use while also protecting the user's personal safety.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?
When it comes to products, effective design should go beyond enhancing current functionalities; it should also prioritize safety, convenience, and an overall improvement in the quality of life.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

From the user's viewpoint, we've implemented AI microcomputer full automation, eliminated redundant embellishments, and concentrated on accentuating the product's strengths and unique features. Our intention is to seamlessly integrate the product into the user's existing routines without disrupting their habits. This approach amplifies safety, minimizes potential life risks, and ultimately safeguards the well-being of users and their families.

Moreover, through the selection of carefully curated materials, the product's durability is significantly bolstered. When used correctly, this product not only ensures safety but can also serve the user and their family for an extended period.

8Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
Caring for the elderly is a prevalent concern in my country. Our company's core mission is to ensure that the elderly can use our cookware at home with confidence and peace of mind. Consequently, product safety takes precedence as the foremost consideration in our design process.
9Congratulations! 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?
For us, winning this award brings us great confidence and proves that our vision and strategy are on the right track. We hope that more people will see our products and bring home safety and convenience to the world.
10Can 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 initial concept behind SEFI KNOB and SEFI PAN was to provide protection for the elderly and those with memory impairments within the household. We also considered the fact that cooking above 220 degrees can result in the release of grease and smoke, while temperatures exceeding 240 degrees can lead to chemical reactions and the production of carcinogens. To address this, we integrated temperature monitoring into the product, allowing it to display temperature information and emit alerts as a reminder for the family.

If the flame is not adjusted after the warning, the product will intervene automatically by shutting off the flame, thereby minimizing the risk of a potential accident. We decided to enter this project into the competition to showcase our invention to a wider audience and advocate for the concept of enhancing home safety.

11What was the biggest challenge with this project?

Amid the pandemic, we encountered unforeseen hurdles, including factory shutdowns during mold development. Furthermore, the absence of a standardized stove model in the market compelled our team to conduct comprehensive research on available stoves to guarantee the universal usability of our product in every household.

In the process of product testing, we grappled with various challenges, including ensuring that external temperature and seasonal changes wouldn't impact the product's temperature, enhancing the precision of the pointer sensor, and establishing a reliable connection for automatic flame shut-off without external disruptions. Over the course of two to three years, we made numerous adjustments and iterations, but ultimately, we successfully resolved all these issues.

12What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
Seeing people use our design, seeing our design reduce carcinogens, and having our design prevent the chance of disasters in each home.
13What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

The majority of designs in our country primarily focus on outward appearance and user-friendliness, aiming to captivate people's attention and fulfill the designer's personal satisfaction.

However, when it comes to cookware, it's imperative to enhance the product's functionality. As a result, we merge form, convenience, and product functionality to craft items that prioritize safety.

14Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
In the present day, design encompasses more than just aesthetics; it extends to addressing social concerns, including the pursuit of ESG sustainable practices. Consequently, I anticipate that over the next 5 to 10 years, the design industry will witness an increase in outstanding products that actively consider social responsibility and environmental conservation. I look forward to this transformation.
15If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Always pay special attention to social issues. This is what advice I can offer to students. We should always give back to society, this is something every designer should have ingrained in their minds and hearts.
16What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
The world is at your fingertips, the internet is so accessible to everyone! In order to improve one’s design skills, one should collect different opinions, so that they can make a perfect combination of product design and sustainable management of society. Therefore, I would recommend people who want to advance in this area to consult more and watch more, which I believe is the most effective way.
17Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
My father has dedicated a lifetime of time and effort to the cookware industry. When he was about to retire, his greatest wish was to develop a product that would automatically turn off the heat so that users and their families could cook with peace of mind. So this product is a vision that either my father and I have always wanted to accomplish.
18Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My father once almost caused a disaster when he forgot to turn off the fire. When this happened, I realized that the possibility of fires caused by cooking can happen in every home despite being careful. And there are very few products on the market that can perfectly reduce such disasters. No one wants a disaster to happen to them or their family. I hope that my family can avoid the possibility of such a disaster, and I also hope that such a problem will become less and less common in society.
19What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Our company's brand has always adhered to our core values of "Safety, Innovation, and Sustainability." We are unwavering in our commitment to utilizing only high-quality materials to craft exceptional products. If I wouldn't personally feel at ease using a product, it wouldn't even make it to the market. With every invention and creation, the materials and safety of the product are our top priorities, without a shadow of doubt.
20Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
I am very thrilled to be able to participate in the MUSE Design Awards which is the greatest recognition for me and my team has ever had! I hope that I can create more disaster reduction products in the future, and I also hope that every company will make more of an effort in giving back to society by making more products that are convenient and safe.

Winning Entries

SEFI KNOB | 2023

SEFI KNOB | I-Wen Chien

According to statistics from the fire department, cooking with stoves is the number one cause of fires. Common reasons …
(Read more at MUSE Design Awards)



According to statistics from the fire department, cooking-related fires are the leading cause of fires. Common causes …
(Read more at MUSE Design Awards)

I-Wen Chien

I-Wen Chien is driven by a fervor for creating environmentally friendly, non-toxic products that enhance cooking safety and convenience, all while upholding the principles of ESG. She frequently contemplates how to merge kitchen safety with product design, enabling everyone to cook with confidence and reducing the likelihood of mishaps.

Read more about this interview with Huang Si Huang of AIII Design, the Gold Winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards.