kwangho lee coats new armor seating in traditional korean lacquer
(above) iron oxide chair
all images courtesy of kwangho lee
the ‘new armor’ collection by korean designer kwangho lee demonstrates a homage to his ancestral roots, using traditional artist’s mediums and drawing reference from an ancient dynasty’s wartime garb. the series comprises variations of a chair and stool where glossy meets matte, rough intersects smooth and color coats cold gray. geometric, angular and abstract lines marry, overlapping and converging into multi-layered compositions. bronze comprises the structural body of each seating unit, a metal which extends from the designer’s copper ‘skin’ series, a project started five years ago, which was previously featured on designboom here. sparked from the notion of bronze as the very first alloy invented by humans, lee expresses the design items as if they were a part of the excavated relics of the past, carefully restored to the modern world.
details of the iron oxide chair
arced shapes are referenced from body armor of the joseon dynasty — a korean state which lasted for approximately five centuries, from 1392 to 1897. the curved lines that delineate the chair’s back rest, or the stool’s base, are motivated by smooth contours visible in the shoulder and abdomen of each heavy metallic suit. a ribbed surface enhances the textural similarities to the historic defense garments, made by a process of cutting styrofoam blocks first into parts, and then casting them in bronze. finally, demonstrating the may possibilities of an ancient medium, lee coats various segments of the designs in a high-gloss lacquer called ‘ottchil’, a dense liquid which hardens, leaving the material it laminates incredibly durable. several sheets of traditional ‘hanji’ paper are compounded beneath, exposing a textural quality that materializes on the metallic surface.
lacquer coats the bronze framework of the blue chair
details of the blue chair
details of the blue stool
details of the blue stool — smooth curves intersect angular verticals and horizontals
yellow stool detail
purple stool lacquer detail
beige stool intersects at two points