Pat Kim

Pat Kim, photographed by Sharon Radisch

Born with a curious mind, designer Pat Kim has always been fascinated by how things work. This eagerness led him to leave Virginia for New York to study at Pratt Institute, where he graduated with an Industrial Design degree in 2009. Since then, his focus has turned more towards woodworking, furniture making, and toy design, always rooted in the philosophy of sculptural simplicity and enduring quality.

Due to our current circumstances, Pat has had to transfer projects from his studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn to his home. We asked the artist how he has been adapting to this new normal and what he’s put into practice to get through this heavy-hearted experience. 

Have you started practicing a new daily ritual that you didn’t have time for or that you didn’t feel the need for previously? 

I've started to meditate, which is something I've tried to incorporate into my routine in the past with little success.

Did you start reading or watching anything recently that brings you comfort?

It's been difficult to sit down to read a book, I find myself constantly checking the news.  When I am able to get in a good space to read, I pick up where I left off with Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It provides some comfort, allowing me to zoom out of the current situation and consider the whole of humanity, its past and trajectory.

Staying home has meant more time to be in the kitchen for us. Have you been cooking? Have you discovered any nourishing recipes that are your favorite right now? 


Cooking has become, in small part, a stand in for my studio practice. I have to be creative and experimental. What do I have to work with; what processes do I have to consider; how do I plan around thawing of meat, produce with various shelf lives.  


When I don't really feel like cooking off the cuff, one recipe I really like is Herbed White Bean and Sausage Stew from New York Times Cooking. It's something like a really easy cassoulet, enough for several meals.

Past Work Photographed by Chelsea White

“Cooking has become, in small part, a stand in for my studio practice. I have to be creative and experimental. What do I have to work with; what processes do I have to consider; how do I plan around thawing of meat, produce with various shelf lives.”

Any playlists or artists you can share for focusing while working, unwinding in the evening, or releasing pent up energy any time of day?

I find that I can only focus when working at home while listening to music without vocals or non-English language songs.  A lot of classical, some Shintaro Sakamoto, Fabiano do Nascimento, Will van Horn, Shigei Sekito.

It can be hard to get exercise when we’re inside most of the day. Have you found fun ways to get physical activity in? 

My wife and I have been alternating doing yoga and workouts on the Nike Training Club app in the evenings. Throughout the day if I feel a little anxious or tired I'll do some pushups. I'm trying to gamify this routine by keeping a log of how many I do and coming up with rewards, like a drink for every 50 pushups. I've a bit of catching up to do.

Have you begun any unexpected projects? 

Relating back to cooking, I've been growing mushrooms from a kit a friend sent me.  Nothing yet so far, but it’s been fun nurturing something hopefully with a delicious reward. Also, I've been regrowing scallions from cut off roots. 

Past Work Photographed by Sharon Radisch

Past Work Photographed by Sharon Radisch

If you’re currently working from home, what helps you balance home life from work life? Do you have any boundaries between the two that keep you productive? 

What I've brought home to work on requires to spread out and make sort of a mess. I have to keep it all contained in certain areas to make the apartment work for both myself and my wife. And unlike in my studio, when I'm done with a task, I clean up promptly and put everything away. Hopefully that's a habit that will carry over when I get back to my studio. 

How have you been staying connected to family, friends, and the outside world? 

The Houseparty app is a fun way to keep connected, it’s got games too, which is chill.  Also, I'm starting to write letters and sending little sketches to friends and family. 

Any tips for boosting our immune systems and staying healthy? 

Partially due to rationing but also to reduce overall caffeine intake, I've limited myself to one cup of a coffee a day. I've started to cold brew my stockpile of teas, so I have something quick and refreshing to drink when I'm starting to lag in the afternoon.

Do you have any general/overall advice for remaining calm during this period? What has felt restorative for you?

I've been cleaning a lot. I've gotten really good at loading the dishwasher. Organizing closets, putting aside unwanted clothes for donation/recycling. General declutter. It makes the apartment a lot more pleasant to be in.

Also our TV broke the week the Stay at Home order began in NY. It's been surprisingly nice to not have it as a distraction, I'm accomplishing more in the evenings. At the end of the day, feeling productive during all this is most calming to me.


Images by Sharon Radisch and Chelsea White
Interview by Ivy Schneider