A new wave of furniture design stars on finding their home in Detroit

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Artist and designer Nina Cho often uses a Korean adage to help frame her work. The adage, as it’s translated into English, says, “It is modest but not humble, and impressive but not extravagant.”

While Cho may use the saying to contextualize her own approach to furniture design, it could just as easily be applied to describe her (relatively) newfound home in Detroit. Born in San Francisco, Cho was raised in Seoul, South Korea, where she studied woodworking and furniture design at Hong-Ik University. Cho moved to Michigan on the strength of the state’s own legacy in furniture design, namely the mid-century furniture masterworks of Charles and Ray Eames. It’s what drew her to the world-renowned Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, where she earned an MFA in 3D Design in 2015.

And though the Eames-Cranbrook connection is what initially attracted Cho to Michigan, it’s the city of Detroit that convinced her to stay.
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