Natural references prevail in Korean design

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The Independent Online

Contemporary Korean Design, an exhibition showcasing South Korea's leading designers, has opened at New York's R 20th Century gallery March 2, with most items drawing on nature and the designers' home country's landscape for inspiration.

Benches and stools that seem to be made of giant pebbles, wooden floor lamps, and moon-shaped jars - the display, featuring works by Byung-Hoon Choi, Hun-Chung Lee, Dae-Sup Kwon, Zong-Sun Bahk and Jin Jang is all about organic references, with some of the designers citing "the circle of life" and the Korean landscape as inspiration.

Even materials regarded as the opposite of natural, such as concrete or steel, are turned into something soft and natural-looking by the designer Hung-Chung Lee, who artificially applied patina on them.

Using materials in a new way, these designers - who are making their New York debut with never-before-seen designs - are updating traditional items of their culture, for example the Moon Jar.

A spokesperson for the R 20th Century gallery, which organized the exhibit together with renowned Gallery Seomi in Seoul, said: "This extraordinary collection introduces a generation of artists whose work establishes a new visual vocabulary that combines venerated Korean aesthetic traditions, iconography and techniques with fresh, contemporary ideas and forms."

The display, which includes ceramics and sculptural carved furniture in wood, metal, ceramics and stone, will run through May 14.

http://www.r20thcentury.com

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