kwangho lee carves foam for EPS grotto / seoul pavilion project
all images courtesy / © rohspace




evocative of the rough and uneven natural surface of an eroded rock formation, ‘EPS grotto’ by korean designer and artist kwangho lee transforms the foam medium into an immersive, architectural space. together in collaboration with seoul-based studio nameless architecture, the public pavilion takes shape, using foam blocks frequently used civil engineering as the structure’s framework. in the initial stages of the design, stacked rectangular slabs have been developed on top of one other, asymmetrically compiled into a walk-in construction. a significant part of the project follows, as hand carving and chiseling with a wire tool creates an undulating surface on the large-scale cubes. 


EPS grotto
video courtesy of rohspace



this symbolized human action transforming standardized and artificial materials into the arbitrary. its transformed materiality allows the space to flow naturally within an intended structural frame, allowing visitors to experience and explore a small grotto within the city center’, the nameless team explain. resulting in an exterior skin with a richly-textured, tactile expanse, ‘EPS grotto’ can be sat on, touched, leaned onto and experienced, and lights up seoul plaza at night.

visitors to seoul plaza sit and relax on ‘EPS grotto’

hand carving creates an undulating surface on the foam blocks’ exterior skin

the immersive space allows visitors to enter and experience the design

detail of the carved foam

illuminating the sky at night



project info:

client: seoul metropolitan government / korean institute of architects
artist / crafstman: kwangho lee
architect: nameless architecture / unchung na + sorae yoo
photography: rohspace(video), nameless
location: seoul plaza, south korea
program: pavilion
site area: m2 / sf
building dimension: 6m l x 12m w x 5m h
material: geofoam / expanded polystyrene (eps)
status: completed 2013