Kwangho Lee at Design Miami/Basel 2018

Kwangho Lee On Using a 15th-Century Technique To Make Today’s Coolest Furniture

At Design Miami/Basel this week, Korean designer Kwangho Lee is presenting his latest work with the New York gallery Salon 94 Design — a 25-piece offering, spanning seating, side tables, cabinets, lamps, and planters, that continues Lee’s career-long quest to resuscitate enamel’s old-fashioned image. “Korean people aren’t very interested in it as a traditional material,” he explains of his longtime technique, chilbo, which dates back to the 15th century. “They think it’s something boring and old-fashioned.”
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Kwangho Lee’s Enamel-Skinned Copper Series

Kwangho Lee fancies himself a simple man. The 29-year-old grew up on a farm in South Korea watching his mother knit clothes and his grandfather make tools with his bare hands, which ultimately became the inspirations behind his work. He values nostalgia and rejects greed, and more like a craftsman than a designer, he prefers sculpting and manipulating ordinary materials to engineering the precise outcome of an object. “I dream of producing my works like a farmer patiently waiting to harvest the rice in autumn after planting the seed in spring,” he muses on his website. It all starts to sound a bit trite, but then you see the outcome: hot-pink shelves knitted from slick PVC tubing, lights suspended inside a mess of electrical wire, towering Impressionist thrones carved from blocks of black sponge. Lee may have old-fashioned ideals, but he designs for the modern world, and that’s the kind of transformative alchemy that draws people to an artist.
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Three Exhibitions Explore a Multiplicity of Color at Salon 94 Design’s New Permanent HQ

Kwangho Lee's first-ever New York solo exhibition, which recently invaded the ground floor of Salon 94 Design's newly established permanent uptown HQ, is called Infinite Expansion. And in a way that's the best phrase we can think of to describe most of the pieces displayed over five floors of the enormous former townhouse, no matter who they're by. Each mini-exhibition shows an artist who has often dwelled on similar processes or forms throughout their career but has infused them each time with a sense of the new.
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Tiled Furniture is Having a Moment, But These Pieces Are Unlike Anything You’ve Seen

We're certainly not the first people to tell you that tile furniture had something of a moment in 2020. But because of tile's inherent limitations, those pieces tend to have a certain sameness, even as their palettes and patterns change. That's why Tajimi Custom Tiles, a new brand based in the historic center of the Japanese tile industry, feels incredibly novel. To celebrate the launch of their custom-tailored tiles — and to showcase the brand's almost innumerable possibilities —Tajimi commissioned installations from Max Lamb and Kwangho Lee.
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The South Korean Designer Making “Art Futons” A Thing

Sang Hoon Kim's Foam Series is a collection of seats, bookcases, chaises, tables, and even rugs made from colorful, flexible memory foam that's mixed in varying solutions to create levels of texture and cushion. The results have a blocky form language that's reminiscent of Kwangho Lee or Max Lamb mixed with the color sensibility of a Chris Schanck; the chaise is a particular favorite, resembling as it does the coolest futon you could ever imagine.
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Design and Art Are More Connected Than Ever at New York’s Newest Gallery

Whither Johnson Trading Gallery? The New York design gallery — which in its heyday introduced an American audience to the work of contemporary designers like Max Lamb, Kwangho Lee, Katie Stout, Aranda/Lasch, and more (not to mention Rafael de Cárdenas's epic first furniture collection) — had been relatively quiet of late. Now we know why: Earlier this month, it was announced that while JTG will continue selling vintage work, the contemporary artists in their stable will be absorbed into a new program at one of our favorite art galleries, Salon 94.
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The 11 Best Things We Saw at This Year’s 2024 Fog Design+Art Fair in San Francisco

In January I finally attended the Fog Design+Art show for the first time. The design scene in SF seems to be picking up a bit these days, and we've been getting to know its talents — from interior designers like Studio Ahead and Michael Hilal to local furniture and object makers like Kate Greenberg, Caleb Ferris, and Ido Yoshimoto — so I figured it would be a good chance to both network with the locals and see what the out-of-towners were bringing to the fair itself. Here's everything I liked at the show(s).
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On the Great Pine Resurgence of 2023 — AKA For Pine Nuts Who Love It Knotty

Have you been reading For Scale? It's the new furniture-focused Substack that seemingly everyone is already turned onto, and we get it — it's an absolute joy to read, with favorite topics so far including but not being limited to: plastic, children's furniture, the "twink aesthetic," and Psycho-Decorating 101 (a favorite Sight Unseen tome). So, we did what any editor with half a brain would do: We hired For Scale's excellent and very fun writer, David Michon, to pen what we hope is the first of many columns! Today's subject: a paean to PINE.
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Week of May 31, 2021

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: an Israeli furniture showroom with a Barragán-inspired look, a French housewares company with a stellar line-up, and — stay with us here — a very sexy new slidable door system.
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The Best of Milan Design Week 2019, Part I

Each year in Milan brings something truly wonderful to behold, whether it's furniture hoisted into inflatable bubbles (Nilufar Depot), a newly open-to-the-public Piero Portaluppi interior (Massimo de Carlo Gallery), or the coolest amoeba-shaped marble tables we've ever seen (by Studio Binocle, which we're featuring here today). We'll be devoting our whole week to coverage from the fair so stay tuned, and click through for the first of our favorites.
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Week of August 20, 2018

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: an unlikely source for geometric bedding, a bathroom made beautiful by neon grout, and a political art initiative to benefit one of our favorite organizations, She Should Run.
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A Short List of Everything We Loved At This Year’s Design Miami/Basel

Even if nothing else of interest had launched at last week's Design Miami/Basel, we would have still done this round-up if only to feature Galerie VIVID's Column Paintings by Thomas Trum, seen at the top of this post; nothing about the recent Design Academy Eindhoven's previous two-dimensional work could have prepared us for the awesomeness of these two-toned painted shelving units. Luckily, there was other good stuff at the fair to be found as well.
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