Cultured Magazine

Summer 2012

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contemporary craft Hun-Chung Lee approaches his thoroughly contemporary work with an ancient process that's deeply entrenched in traditional practices. BY JULIA COOKE Yangpyeong studio; at right, his glazed ceramic Macaron stools. Designer Hun-Chung Lee in his Traditional Korean celadon ceramics, rusted steel and concrete aren't the most obvious of bedfellows, but those are designer Hun-Chung Lee's primary materials. In his hands, the three look like natural allies. "That's where Lee finds his beauty, balancing the roughness and softness and finding the middle," says PJ Park, owner of Seoul's Gallery Seomi, which will be showing Lee's work at Design Miami/Basel. On a studio visit in 2008, Park spied a piece that Lee—a well-known ceramicist who'd been on Park's radar for a decade—had discarded. In Park's eyes, that piece of pottery be- came a stool, and they've been working together ever since. Lee's middle relishes in the interplay of his materials. In pieces like a desk that combines a thick leg of shimmering ceramic with a curved steel 90 CULTURED base and a concrete slab on top, the gestural leg pokes up and out of the desk's surface, seeming to ply the thick material to its will. His lines are rarely sharp, his circles slightly quivering. By working with a traditional kiln in his Yangpyeong studio, hand-feeding pine slabs into the fire for three to four days, Lee's work exults in the natural imperfections of form that come from hand- made, individually conceived pieces. Seomi will show Lee's furniture, including a low tea-table and a kidney- shaped desk, and objects, such as the artist's fluffily fantastical blue ceramic Macaron stools. The solid poufs look like something Alice might have brought back from a well-designed Wonderland for her sleek apartment. We'd have done the same.

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