The art of furniture: Exhibits to help you redesign your space

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The art of furniture: Exhibits to help you redesign your space

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Kukje Gallery has been holding design exhibitions since 2005, and this year’s is dedicated to French furniture designer Jean Royere (1902-1981). He is famous for his plush fabrics, bold colors and dramatic curves. Provided by the gallery

Furniture pieces have increasingly been crossing the threshold of museums and galleries over the past few years in Korea. And it seems like this is the month of such exhibitions, with three galleries in Seoul full of the works of famed furniture designers.

For those who are want to steal some ideas for their living rooms or if you’d like to take a peek at rare furniture from the ’50s and ’60s, these are three exhibitions you should head for.

Kukje Gallery - Nice curves

Kukje Gallery has been hosting design exhibitions every year since 2005; this month the gallery is devoting itself to French furniture designer Jean Royere (1902-1981).

Famous for his use of a wide range of fabrics from velvet to wool, many of which were considered innovative during his time, Royere’s curvy works leave visitors surprised to hear that many were made nearly 60 years ago.

Royere used bold, bright colors and dramatic lines. A wander around the exhibit makes you want to curl up on one of the invitingly plush pieces, but you’ll have to restrain yourself. Unlike some design exhibitions that allow guests to sit back and enjoy selected items, that’s not allowed at this show.

“Most of the furniture was produced in the ’50s and ’60s, so it’s pretty weak,” says Jeon Min-kyeong, who is promoting the exhibition.

Of Royere’s many pieces, his “Ours Polaire” (Polar Bear) series is the most famous. The exhibition is put together much like a furniture showroom and is a must-visit for design-savvy folks looking to spruce up their own living spaces.

The gallery is located in Samcheong-dong, central Seoul. The exhibition runs through March 31. Operation hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays and national holidays.

Admission is free. For more information, visit www.kukje.org or call (02) 735-8449.

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Salon de H Gallery combines vintage furniture with contemporary art. Here, works of Julian Opie hang on the wall.

Salon de H - Modern vintage

Works by young British artists such as Julian Opie, Marc Quinn and Michael Craig-Martin are on display along with minimalistic European vintage furniture at Salon de H Gallery in “The Collection.”

“A majority of Korean art collectors are taking an interest in vintage furniture that was produced in the ’50s and ’60s these days,” says Son Ha-yeong, a curator of the exhibition. “So we wanted to suggest ways of coordinating contemporary art pieces and vintage furniture in their living rooms,” Son adds.

As you make your way around the exhibit, it is interesting to see how the different pieces and different time periods can work together.

Opie is famous for simplifying his objects with neutral lines, while Quinn’s photos of surreal and flamboyant flowers evoke eerie feelings. Craig-Martin’s drawings look like sketches you might find in a trendy coffee shop.

Despite all the different characteristics, these pieces do come together to create a certain harmony.

The vintage furniture includes some pieces by George Nakashima (1905-1990), a famed Japanese-American architect and furniture designer.

The exhibition runs through April 12. The gallery is located in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul and it’s open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, it closes at 6 p.m. Admission is free of charge. For more information, visit www.salondeh.com or call (02) 546-0853.

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Arne Jacobsen’s Swan Chair (1958) is part of Choi Jung Ah Gallery’s exhibition “Re.New,” which features works from the golden age of Danish furniture.

Choi Jung Ah Gallery - The Danish Golden Age

“Re.New” at Choi Jung Ah Gallery is an exhibition dedicated to three different arts - furniture, drawing and ceramics.

The exhibition starts with Danish furniture that is functional and aesthetically pleasing and shows how Danish design maintains its luster after decades.

With modern versions of Korean ceramics and sumukhwa (traditional ink wash paintings), the exhibition also shows how Danish design and Korean art are both rooted in the same spirit of simplicity and functional beauty.

The furniture in the display comes from five Danish designers: Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971), Hans Wegner (1914-2007), Finn Juhl (1912-1989), Niels O. Moller (1920-1982) and Peter Hvidt (1916-1986).

These five began the golden age of Danish furniture design after World War II, and their influence still resonates in contemporary furniture design.

For instance, the Juhl’s works inspired the founding of IKEA, the Swedish furniture company that is beloved around the world.

Because of this, the pieces on display look familiar even to those with little knowledge about furniture.

The gallery is located near Hongik University in western Seoul. The exhibition runs through March 31 and operation hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays. Admission is free of charge. For more information visit www.jagallery.co.kr or call (02) 540-5584.



By Sung So-young [so@joongang.co.kr]
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