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Fit For The Body, Bae Se Hwa’s Undulating Steam Bent Furniture

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Made from hundreds of strips of walnut that have been artfully shaped to suit the contours of the human body, the undulating forms of Bae Se Hwa’s ‘Steam Bent’ furniture collection seem at odds with their material nature.

The South Korean designer draws inspiration from baesanimsu; an architectural philosophy that considers the ideal position of a home as being one with a mountain at its back, and a river at its front. It is this meeting of organic and built that finds form in his practice; Bae Se Hwa renders his complex furniture designs on a computer before translating the work to a three dimensional, hand-built form. Using the time-intensive process of steam bending, Bae Se Hwa heats slices of wood until they are pliable, and then lays and clamps them individually to gradually create the undulating forms of his furniture pieces. These two seemingly opposite styles of working—on a computer, and by hand—are drawn together harmoniously in his ‘Steam Bent’ collection of chestnut chairs, desks and benches.

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All images © Bae Se Hwa