Jaekwang Lim

Interior Design MA, 2012–2014

It was a long journey for me to get to the RCA. My first degree was in exhibition design and then I set up my own design studio for a year in Korea. It was mainly exhibiting a range of my own work, from a large-scale installation to small objects. It was very enjoyable and I felt inspired. I started thinking about studying abroad, being surrounded by a mixture of cultures and students from different design backgrounds.

I moved to London to do a BA at Chelsea College of Art in London, specialising in spatial and interior design. I graduated in 2012 and was offered a place at the RCA right after graduation. There was really no question for me: I knew I wanted to explore and investigate design at Master’s level and so I applied only to the RCA.

I was very pleased to meet both tutors at the interview. They were very friendly and warm. Of course, it was a very pressured day but the interview started very smoothly from general topics to the personal story of how I came to this course and why. We talked through my portfolio. It was not a crit at all, but more a chance to showcase and explain. It lasted around a hour, but I felt like it was just five minutes.

Interior Design at the RCA is a new course and I’m very pleased that I’ll be among the first graduates from the programme. The course still feels very flexible and responsive to feedback from the students. At the same time, it’s very well organised which makes me feel comfortable to focus on my own projects.

Sometimes I feel a bit like a lab rat, as we’re tested by a wide range of different typologies of interior design such as interiors for trains and A&E design. It has really helped me to look at all the different possibilities for interior design. The A&E project was particularly interesting. Our scheme was designing space for A&E staff, who often work through the night, which means they’re unable to control the hormones which are normally produced when we sleep at night. We ended up proposing a lighting system for their environment. It was great tackling a real life problem and trying to find a design solution.

 What I really like here at the RCA is that we can work across many different disciplines. I want to not only learn about design thinking from my course, but also learn about the processes and ways of thinking used in other programmes, as well as how they communicate their designs and ideas.

As an international student, I pay a lot of money to be here. I think many students work in various jobs while they’re studying. I have worked alongside one of my classmates to design a range of furniture for an advertising agency. It’s great because I’ve been studying for a long time, and getting involved with some work feels like really moving forward.

"I want to not only learn about design thinking from my course, but also learn about the processes and ways of thinking used in other programmes..."
Jaekwang Lim
Jaekwang Lim