Quiet Beauty: Contemporary Korean Design
Hun Chung Lee, Korea, 2010s
Low table in ceramic with concrete top....
“I believe that making art cannot just be about pleasure. It’s an indication and justification within the process that assures my existence. It’s a journey that teaches me who I am today.” - Hun Chung Lee
Bae Se Hwa, Korea, 2013
"Steam 23" lounge chair in steam-bent walnut and cowhide. Designed by Bae Se Hwa, Korea, 2013. #2 from the edition of 6 + 2 APs....
Bae Se Hwa is inspired by the Korean tradition of beauty as the harmony of nature, seeking to convey a sense of calmness and peace through his designs. His furniture resembles the Korean landscape and mountains through their organic shapes and curved wood, reinforcing his desire to create a conversation between man and nature, inside and outside.
Myung Sun Kang, Korea, 2011
"Mermaid Bench" in mother of pearl and Korean lacquer on wood layered with linen, red clay, and charcoal. Designed and made by Myung Sun Kang, Korea, 2011....
Korean mother-of-pearl lacquerware generally features iridescent figures, forms, and landscapes floating on a striking dark ground. For her “Mermaid Bench”, Kang reimagines this centuries-old compositional tradition, floating a seat of mother of pearl atop a pitch-black base.
Myung Sun Kang, Korea, 2012
"From the Glitter" wall-hung cabinet in mother of pearl and Korean lacquer on wood layered with linen. Designed and made by Myung Sun Kang, Korea, 2012....
“Playing in between tradition and contemporary is where my works belong. Old without the new and new without the old do not attract me as it only appeals to one or the other. But in between, it is limitless.” - Myung Sun Kang
Bae Se Hwa, Korea, 2015.
"Steam 25" lounge chair in steam-bent walnut. This example produced in 2019. #3 from the edition of 6 + 2 APs....
Bae Se Hwa has refined and perfected a steam-bending technique that allows him to create works of exceptional scale. Starting with a geometric diagram, Se Hwa individually bends hundreds of thin slices of walnut wood over a structured frame. Through this repetitive process, Se Hwa is able to create unexpected silhouettes with subtle curves and elegant line formations.
Myung Sun Kang, Korea, 2013
"From the Glitter" lounge chair in mother of pearl and Korean lacquer on wood. Designed and made by Myung Sun Kang, Korea, 2013. Edition 2 of 8 + 2 APs....
Though her materials reference the 2000-year old tradition of Korean mother-of-pearl lacquerware, there is nothing ancient about the energetically asymmetrical form of this glimmering lounge chair.