Where Are They Now: Team K’s Float and CoPort

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Emma Weckerling
Emma Weckerling
Emma is the Managing Editor of Work Design Magazine.

Team K’s winning Float submission went on to be presented at a variety of high-level conferences and universities and was featured on PBS. Find out what the team is up to today!

Team K,  Yongyeon Cho and Huiwon Lim, were winners of the 2020 Next Work Environment Competition as well as finalists in the 2021 competition. Team K’s Float submission in 2020 was a design proposal for collaborative space and meeting rooms in work environments. Float was intended to metaphorically express the movement of the circle (a personal bubble), floating freely while maintaining distance from each other. After winning, the Float submission was presented to many conferences and universities including the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) annual conference, Drexel University, and the University of Oregon. You can check out the full Float submission here.

We checked back in with Team K to see what they are up to today and how both of their submission have evolved in the last few years.



Yongyeon Cho
Assistant Professor in the Department of Interior Design at Iowa State University



Huiwon Lim
Assistant Professor in the Department of Graphic Design at Penn State University



Team K’s Float – 2020 Next Work Environment Competition Winner

What has happened with the Float project since the competition?

Before we started the The Next Work Environment Competition, Team K presented our study results to Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) conference in 2020. The study presented the content analysis results of three workplace design guidelines and standards (WELL V1, Active Design Guideline, and CDC worksite health scorecard) to promote user wellness in office environments. The competition project was to testify our wellness workplace design criteria and the 20 features for collaboration spaces in an office. After winning the competition, we developed a survey to understand office users’ design experiences in their offices in the United States. We presented the survey results at the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) annual conference, Drexel University, and the University of Oregon in 2022. Professor Lim and Cho also interviewed and presented “Will workers return to re-imagined offices post-pandemic?” for a PBS NewsHour Weekend story. And Cho was also invited to present the competition-winning project in a webinar titled “Designing Post-pandemic Office Space,” organized by Ryerson University in Toronto.

If the idea has evolved, what were the changes and why?

We don’t think any critical changes to the project after our submission. But if we had a chance to change, we would like to add a more specific site, brand, and project users. If we add these conditions, our project could present a more distinctive interior design and experiential graphics. However, our design proposal is a prototype that can be applied to any site, brand, or user. We hope our design can be a base for other future conference room designs. We also seek clients and collaborators to expand our research and experimental design.

Has the team working on it grown? Who did you add and why?

The research group, Team K, consisted of Professor Yongyeon Cho, Interior Design department at Iowa State University, Professor Huiwon Lim, Graphic Design department at Penn State University, and Dr. Hye Jeong Park, Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Graphic Design department at the University of Northern Colorado. Cho and Lim worked on this design project, “Float.” We invited Dr. Park to the 2021 Work Design Competition because her expertise in HCI will help with the “CoPort” design project, which is the competition’s finalist. Dr. Park emphasized our proposed device’s user interface that promotes users’ empathy.

What are you working on now?

Team K is currently working on two more user surveys: a developed country outside of the United States and a developing country with different government policies, digital infrastructures, and Covid-19 cases impacting employees’ work environments. After the surveys, the results will be directly used to develop a mobile application that helps to evaluate an office’s environmental design by multiple user groups in real-time. This project is funded by Iowa State University’s Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities.

Team K’s CoPort – 2021 Next Work Environment Competition Finalist

What has happened with the CoPort project since the competition?

This was the first project Team K focused on data visualization, communication, human interaction, and design empathy in space to enhance wellness through a product or graphics rather than the space itself. After the competition, the project was introduced to Lim’s students in a graphic design studio class at Penn State University as a design reference for a design project, Visualizing Personality, and students created amazing abstracted graphics for the data they found on the subject as an extension of graphic design or arts to enhance visual communication.

If the idea has evolved, what were the changes and why?

We didn’t have any critical changes to the CoPort project after the competition, however, we have been working on other data visualization projects as a team. CoPort was a kind of initiative project in terms of data visualization and from there we are working on some data visualization projects to help people to be aware of some critical social problems or issues such as diversity.

Has the team working on it grown?

No changes or additional members to the team yet. But, we are open to having  additional members of the research team in order to expand our research and experimental design.

What are you working on now?

Team K is working on some data visualization projects and research to let people be aware of current critical social issues such as diversity, equity, empathy, and sustainability. We submitted one of our updated research to The Design Communication Association (DCA) conference just a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve been waiting for their decision. We hope we could get a chance to share our research at the conference. Also, as an assistant professor in the Graphic Design Department at Penn State University, Lim is developing a new data visualization studio course for Junior or Graduate students.


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