Korean artists take inspiration from Italian designers for nine stunning chairs
Nine chairs of various shapes and sizes embody the beauty of traditional Korean craftwork. Master craft artisans of Korea created these chairs using traditional techniques but with a twist; each chair pays homage to the signature styles of iconic Italian designers.
Exhibition “Nine Chairs” or “Le Nove Sedie” in Italian runs until June 13 at the Gallery Mun in central Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP).
The exhibition shows how traditional Korean craftwork can integrate with everyday items. Director Choi In-sun of the Korean Royal Heritage Gallery who planned this exhibition said she was inspired by the craftsmanship of Italian artisans and their lasting influence on European industrial design.
Choi and the Korean Cultural Center in Rome selected nine designers that represent Italy. The Korean artisans were each designated with a designer and given the task of creating something to pay homage to them in the form of their respective traditional Korean craft techniques: ox horn inlaying, cabinet-making, knotting, ceramics, lacquerware, colored lacquerware, embroidery, paper string, and folk painting.
Jung Gui-ja, a master artisan of minhwa (Korean folk paintings), drew inspiration from Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) Chaekgado, or still-life paintings of bookshelves, completed with a Giorgio Armani-style color palette.
Master embroidery artisan Chang Ok-im finished her chair with luxurious needlework, influenced by Italian luxury brand Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele's use of Asian-style embroidered designs.
Lacquerware master artisan Jung Soo-hwa, inspired by Italian designer Mario Bellini, inlaid lavish mother-of-pearl patterns on a portable chair, similar to what Emperor Gojong of the Joseon Dynasty would have used.
Master ox horn inlay artisan Lee Jae-man’s work paid homage to Italian designer Alessandro Mendini’s famous “Proust Armchair” (1978).
The exhibition offers much more than the nine chairs. As well as the artists tasked with creating chairs, nine other artists were also designated to each Italian designer and created a total of 100 elaborate craft items, including gold and silverwork and carved egg art, which fill the gallery.
“We hope Korean crafts gain attention and are utilized in Italian industries,” said Oh Choong-suk, director of the Korean Cultural Center in Rome.
BY JUNG HYUNG-MO [email@example.com]