kwangho lee: enameled skin copper series
 
kwangho lee: enameled skin   copper series kwangho lee: enameled skin   copper series
dec 23, 2010

kwangho lee: enameled skin copper series

‘enameled skin – copper series’ image courtesy of kwangho lee

 

 

 

at this year’s design miami, new york-based johnson trading gallery presented the ‘enameled skin – copper series’ by korean designer kwangho lee, who has sent us images of the making process. for the project, lee, along with a few designer friends traveled around many rural areas of korea. they searched and recorded the culture, food, industries and regional specialties naturally born and developed in the east asian country, exploring the way in which people live. the purpose was to familiarize themselves with the behaviors, habits and scene passed down from ancestors, studying ways in which to approach materials derived from nature.

 

‘enameled skin – copper series’ is the start of a long-term project between lee and his peers. their goal is to try and revive old korean crafts using modern techniques and applications. though typically known for his furniture objects made from a colorful array of knitted telephone and cable wires, lee’s interests in traditional enameling first began during his studies at seoul university. this enameling technique is ‘becoming a forgotten craft,’ says lee. generally it has been applied to small housewares and jewelry, but for this furniture collection, lee poured the enamel onto large pieces of copper furniture, such as stools, tables, cabinets, chairs etc… changing the typical application of this traditional craft.

lee uses copper plates that measure 120 x 40 cm to develop his pieces image courtesy of kwangho lee

 

 

the process involves lee using copper plates which he sources in korea measuring 120 x 40cm. for each piece he has to carefully sketch out how to use the plates in order to make an object. he then cuts the edges accordingly and welds them together. once the parts are welded, the surface is sanded to aid the chil-bo (traditional korean enamel) to adhere better to the copper surface. he also wipes and cleanses the surface for the same reason. after the chil-bo is applied to the furniture piece, it is put into a kiln where it is cooked at 770-780 degrees celsius for 4 – 5 hours. it is then left in the kiln to cool down for a day. once out of the kiln, unexpected effects are noticed such as the color transformation  of the copper, the oxidized surface, chil-bo effect etc.

 

carefully measuring and arranging the cut pieces image courtesy of kwangho lee

detail of the welded edges image courtesy of kwangho lee

a chair welded together image courtesy of kwangho lee

sanding the copper in order to allow the chil-bo to adhere to the surface better image courtesy of kwangho lee

cleansing and wiping the surface is done for the same reason as sanding image courtesy of kwangho lee

blue chil-bo being applied to a copper surface image courtesy of kwangho lee

enamel application almost complete image courtesy of kwangho lee

the finished chair out of the kiln image courtesy of kwangho lee

 

a desk that has been fired in the kiln image courtesy of kwangho lee

 

observing the effects of the heat on the copper surface image courtesy of kwangho lee

 

piece out of the kiln image courtesy of kwangho lee

ready to come out of the kiln… image courtesy of kwangho lee

a cabinet ready for the kiln image courtesy of kwangho lee

the cabinet heading into the kiln image courtesy of kwangho lee

image courtesy of kwangho lee

 

the work being cooked in the kiln at 770 – 780 degrees celsius for 4 – 5 hours image courtesy of kwangho lee

the different effects of the heat create a green / white result on this table image courtesy of kwangho lee

a marble effect image courtesy of kwangho lee

detail image courtesy of kwangho lee

enameled boxes image courtesy of kwangho lee

enameled green stool image courtesy of kwangho lee

detail of the copper surface when not enameled and exposed to the heat image courtesy of kwangho lee

a look at the oxidized surface of the copper. the metal changes color as it flakes off a layer. lee leaves it as it is, not peeling it off, but rather slightly wiping it to keep it clean. image courtesy of kwangho lee

detail image courtesy of kwangho lee

‘enameled skin – copper series’ on show at design miami 2010 image courtesy of johnson trading gallery

installation view of kwangho lee’s work at design miami 2010 image courtesy of johnson trading gallery

enameled bookshelf and cabinet image courtesy of johnson trading gallery

the johnson trading gallery presentation image courtesy of johnson trading gallery

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