Art News | Furniture Designer Born in the Korean Army Presenting New 2019 Collection | Art Week

Furniture Designer Born in the Korean Army Presenting New 2019 Collection

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“I was a DMZ policeman for 2 years during the mandatory Korean military service where I worked as a Guard Post, and I had lots of time to think looking at nature on the other side of the fence.” A long time has passed since Joseph Chun started imagining his career as product designer while contemplating the immensity of the Korean landscape, and he could never have believed what a great one he would become. He chose furniture, among other products of design, because as he says, “It is something we all have to interact and feel with own our body on a daily basis yet has infinite possibilities of improvement.”

He draws his inspirations from his rich journey growing up in different cultures. Born in Daegu, North Gyeongsang Province of South Korea, his life journey took him from Seoul to Wisconsin, then to North Carolina and back to Korea to complete his Army service, finally landing in New York City. He is now based in Red Hook, Brooklyn where he works and lives.

“I feel my furniture pieces are a reflection of my experiences. I use wood because it is in itself a material with a story. None of the grain patterns are the same and that makes each piece have an original fingerprint that is just impossible to replicate. Also, wood, unlike metal, plastic or stone, is a material closer to our body temperature that makes it the material that agrees and comforts our bodies.”

Joseph Chen graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology where he earned his BA in Furniture Design. He has worked with furniture firms like Pickett Furniture which works with clients such as J.Crew, and KWH Furniture created by craftsman Kai-wei Hsu. He has presented his pieces at fairs like the Wanted Design’s Launch Pad and has exhibited his work at Gallery R and Bevier Gallery. His pieces have been featured in publications such as Design Milk, Wescover, Contemporary Creative Practice Magazine, and Surface, which also selected his work to be part of “The List”, a directory of the best design firms and brands in the US.

Joseph is presenting his most recent collection at Cargo Project Gallery, a new art space operating on the border of the trendy art neighborhood of Bushwick and Ridgewood in New York City. “We opened Cargo Project Gallery with the idea of bringing underexposed international artists and creatives to New York,” says Kika Espejo, the founder and director. “We fell in love with Joseph’s story and his work. He creates pieces of furniture that brings memories of a past you have not lived, as a kind of time travel. His pieces make you reminisce cultures you have never had the opportunity to experience but that come to your senses through his work.”

The exhibition, that will open Wednsday June 3rd, would be a one-night show which is going to be the Cargo Project Gallery regular format. “We have a program that will present a wide range of disciplines for one-night exhibitions and events, from censored Cuban photography-based artists to socially engaged illustrators from Iran, and a controversial film projection of 9/11 comedy from Spain,” Kika says. “We are really excited to start our program with Joseph’s show and we hope it will be well received by the Bushwick/Ridgewood community.”

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