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Kevin Hoil Yoo is excited about his work as an industrial designer—and so were the judges who named him a finalist in a recent national design contest.

Kevin Hoil Yoo is excited about his work as an industrial designer—and so were the judges who named him a finalist in a recent national design contest. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Yoo )

Kevin Hoil Yoo: Designing His Future

Published April 22, 2015

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East Haven’s Kevin Hoil Yoo is in his final year at the Pratt Institute working toward a career in industrial design, but his creative thinking has already helped him become one of eight finalists in a national design contest.

Kevin competed to create a donor recognition sculpture for the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Kevin’s current experience at the Pratt Institute has been “amazing,” he says, and so has his experience in the Kravis Center contest, where national and international artists worked alongside elite companies to compete for the grand prize. The challenge was to showcase donor names in a symbolic piece.

“It was an incredibly challenging project to incorporate 200 interchangeable names in this sculptured piece. To figure out the entire mechanism and engineering behind it [was] challenging, but also a great experience,” says Kevin.

Using combinations of patterns and forms, Kevin worked to create “a sensation of entering an alternate reality, and to create both a pathway and a sculpture” in his piece Reflecting Realm, which can be seen at

The presentation and evening ceremony for the finalists was on April 7 and even though Kevin didn’t walk away with the grand prize, he says, “It’s not about the winning, it’s really about your work, the connections, and networking, that can be done.”

Prior to this Kevin won a General Electric Architectural Pavilion Stage contest to help represent 9/11 police officers and firefighters. Next up, Kevin will be working with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to replicate some medieval pieces in 3D for an exhibition in May.

Born and raised in Korea, Kevin moved to East Haven with his parents and sister when he was 10 years old, following a short stint in New York City. Currently studying in New York, Kevin says East Haven is home.

“I’m always back and forth,” he says, noting that his parents own businesses in town.

Kevin speaks fondly of his East Haven education.

“I attended Deer Run Elementary, and then transferred to East Haven Academy, where I had Ms. Savino, an amazing teacher” who is still working at the academy.

“East Haven Academy was great, all the teachers were amazing, I love them,” he says. “They brought me up to be who I am today, and I still visit them whenever I can.”

After graduating from the Academy, Kevin attended East Haven High School and also attended the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven.

“That is how I received both my arts and liberal high school education,” says Kevin.

Kevin credits his teachers for his current success. He says they always encouraged his efforts.

“When I first applied for the academy, my English was so shaky that I ended up bringing in more of my art,” he recalls of what turned out to be a successful strategy. “The art professor enjoyed my work and helped me” get in.

Visiting with family and former teachers isn’t the only draw to East Haven—when he’s home, Kevin often tries to schedule some tennis with his fellow former East Haven High School varsity tennis team members.

To nominate a Person of the Week, contact Jaki Lauper at

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