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Kwangho Lee

Intertwined Forms



Designer Kwangho Lee uses a variety of techniques and objects to create extraordinary designs. Lee’s art has taken many forms, from sculptures and installations to interior design objects and paintings; each accentuates the charm of its materials. 

From a young age, Lee grew up in an environment where he was surrounded by nature. This eventually made him curious and opened up his interest in materials that were commonly found around him. His exploration of different types of mediums is a study of sensory experience. Whether it’s chairs and stools made from woven PVC cords or lamps made from styrofoam, he allows the viewer an opportunity to encounter the unfamiliar facets of everyday objects. We paid a visit to his studio in Seoul, where his exploration of materials continues to take place.

Kwangho Lee's studio in Seoul.


PLUS: Looking at your oeuvre, it is fascinating how you always experiment with a wide list of materials, and we are curious how this course of action took place for you. 

Kwangho Lee: Ever since I was young, I enjoyed playing with objects and making things based on what I had. I started with the idea of becoming a jewelry designer because the thought of making my own designs and gifting them to my loved ones was special. As my major in college was a metal craft, I naturally started to have an interest in various mediums and their properties, which expanded my perspective beyond jewelry design.

However, back in those days, I couldn’t afford to buy expensive materials, so I began to utilize items that could be easily found in everyday life and objects that I was familiar with. I also wanted to rely on a method that I could handle from start to finish. Ever since then, I have been employing materials such as wires, styrofoam, and PVC to create works to this day. 


P: Choosing material must play a crucial element in your process. Can you elaborate on your selection of materials, and are there any materials you would like to explore?

KL: The works that I’m creating right now are an extension of the past series of work that I have been making. This naturally makes me practice wider with the same materials that I’ve been exposed to and experiment with different methods. At the same time, I do want to get my hands on using different objects that I have never used, and I am constantly thinking about other exciting projects.


P: Although you are widely known as a designer, you don’t bind your title or creations into a single category. 

KL: I don’t have to choose my title because, essentially, I’m just using words that are more helpful for others to understand me than to title or say who I am. I am just Kwangho Lee, a dad to my children, and I simply choose to make something my job and to live my life. No matter what my title is or what others choose to title myself as it would not have much impact on my life.

P: The ‘Knot’ series has been widely recognized for the woven technique utilized in many of your pieces. Can you talk about the series and how it evolved? 

KL: It was when I was struggling with my thesis in college. Luckily, the crochet objects that my mother made caught my attention, and I thought I could try to make them too. The act of making something by utilizing one’s hand is an instinctive process and we all have a tendency to do so. I wanted to explore beyond the notion of instinctive processes and creating simple knots, and that is how it all began. 


P: Your works are unique in the way that they form a relationship with space, and the idea of ‘spatial element’ plays an immense role in your works. How do you incorporate the concept of space and object to your practice?

KL: I think it just happened intuitively. When I was making my earlier works, I was looking for a specific space where it would suit my work and now, I am creating a space and forming objects that could enhance the whole environment where space and objects act as one rather than separate entities. 

I wanted to explore beyond the notion of instinctive process and creating simple knots, and that is how it all began.”

P: How has your studio evolved throughout the years?

KL: I think the studio itself is a reflection of everything that I’ve been through. It’s quite difficult for me to explain any specific story because the space is a representation of myself as an individual and an artist. My studio constantly changes depending on my mood, and I tend to play around with the placements. Sometimes I like to have lots of furniture and objects in the studio, but currently, I am trying to clear the space. 


P: Artists are unique individuals because their work will last with us forever, even without their presence. Art is important not only for its ability to express and educate but also because it transcends human life. That being said if you were told you only had a certain amount of time left to create something, do you know what that would be?

KL: I am still developing my craftsmanship and need more experience. When I finish a project, I always feel there is room for improvement and wonder if I can satisfy myself in the future or if I just need more time in order to fully accept myself. I am looking forward to how my art practice will develop as time passes, and then I think I can answer this more clearly.  

This story is from Issue Two.