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Luckily, I got commissioned to develop a new work right after my graduation. I was very fresh and enthusiastic about everything after my studies. I thought I trained enough to continue exploring my journey after moving to a new country, Germany. But the reality was different. I had to figure out where I live, where I would work, visa, insurance, language, etc. And of course, I had to check “Arbeitsloser (jobless)” on the official paper at that time.
All of these obstacles came to me as a burden, but I decided to use this one-of-a-kind life experience into something. I was insecure and fragile at the same time. One day, I noticed the scaffolding set up for repainting the building. I was looking at the scaffolding, I figured myself into the structure and was thinking about the life of the scaffolding structures. That was the moment when this useful project was born. Both scaffolding structures and I, are very useful yet insecure simultaneously. There are many contrasts in this project. Useful but jobless, lightness but substantial, vulnerable but determined.
Photos / David Stjernholm
Brass, Oak wood
Sanghyeok Lee is a designer and artist whose practice is based on his interest in the rational realization of an immaterial idea with the attitude that suggests a new perspective on an inanimate object. His work seeks to manifest materials’ true nature and their harmonious forms while redefining the meaning and function of technology in production. Also, Lee recontextualizes the relationship between object and space by using architecture and city, as metaphors of the two; at the same time, creates an atmosphere, which dynamically reverses or mixes the interior and exterior of space, and a new spatial experience. He lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
The body of work in this collection consists of pieces by Greek designers of the mainland and the diaspora, or international professionals who live and work in Greece. As a common theme we tackle the elusive notion of “Greekness” and how this transpires through the work of seemingly diverse and distinct individuals. In our attempt to define “Greekness”, we aim to raise questions about how this plays out in the work presented.
How do Greek designers view their identity? Is it through their effort to decipher their heavy heritage? Is form important in order to achieve a predisposed classic elegance, or is a philosophical disposition towards shape more poignant? Could it be simply a resourcefulness and DIY ethic to make up for the absence of design infrastructure?
How do Greek designers based abroad deal with their background? Could it be that they simply ignore it in order to finally free themselves? Is there a certain amount of innovation necessary in order to channel it into the new environment?
Finally, how do foreign designers see their work influenced by their Greek surroundings? Is it the reference through the use of noble materials such as marble or the abundance of natural light that makes their work unquestionably Greek? Or could it be something else they were seeking when they decided to move here, something abstract like humour or drama? Could their arrival finally mean a departure from Greek heritage’s self-reference?
The pieces that we present might seem ill-matched, but they share an important core element. They are confident in their narrative of a personal story of identity, that is either at peace or against the Greek archetype. Through this communication, they all describe a culturally mature and vibrant scene that is finally extroverted and coming of age.
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