Wonmin Park: Planes in Paradise
Paris-based Korean designer Wonmin Park sets his own stage with now iconic coloured-resin furniture series.
Monumental slabs of semi-translucent and multicoloured cast resin undulate and cut across each other, revealing evidence of geometric assembly through textured surface. Ruskin’s plea for honest construction has been answered and no, it has nothing to do with Rietveld or Memphis for that matter. However trained under the auspices of the famed Design Academy Eindhoven, Paris-based South Korean designer Wonmin Park doesn’t fully see himself as part of its ‘hallowed’ linage. The school allowed him to discover an individual voice but it was previous architecture studies that generated a minimalistic approach all his own. Multiple iterations of his seminal Haze series – asymmetrically composed yet functional chairs, tables and most recently, shelving units – have taken the design industry by storm since appearing four years ago. Park is anything but a one-hit-wonder. His explorations of material as expression foray into the immateriality of colour-infused fire and paper. Making his mark with legendary Milanese gallerist Rossana Orlandi in 2013 – mounting his work at Design Miami and becoming a mainstay during the Salone del Mobile, with a memorable presentation at the illustrious Museo Bagatti Valsecchi in 2014 – his work now features prominently at South Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, as well as in major private collections. TLmag spoke to Park in New York last November, as the designer prepared for an exclusive extension of his now successful Carpenters Workshop Gallery solo show, opened in Paris last September. This week in Milan, during the Salone del Mobile and Fuori Salone, the designer presented new works as part of Wallpaper’s Handmade Hotel and The Art of Living at Museo Permanente di Milano.
Strategic Move Drives Inspiration
Park’s move to the French capital from his studio in an old Eindhoven lighting factory earlier this year, came as a pivotal moment in the emerging talent’s career. With much of his vernacular pieces still produced in close collaboration with Rotterdam-based manufacturer S.T.R.S, Park spent much of the spring and summer hard at work in Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s research lab: on the outskirts of Paris. Regardless of venue, he has perfected what is normally a volatile resin casting and grafting technique, to meet his desired constraints while still making room for happenstance.
Back in 2012, the young graduate explored this material’s potential in exuding gradients and refracting light through the organically-composed unfocussed material. Different pigments were added as he began working with square and rectangular planes, all the while achieving a trompe l’oeil effect and allowing jointing of other components – produced in other colours – to show through. The first Haze series debuted with what has perhaps become his most iconic Armchair design. Inspired by black Asian ink, the next White, Gray and Navy series focused on creating sublime, architectonical and elongated structures that Modernist would drool over. Miami Shelf, Bloom Chair and Yellow Beam Mirror brought Park back into contact with colour but he also began exploring innate moods of illumination. Full Color Candles are composed in similar geometries and employ certain salts to project a spectrum of colour in flame.
Stools, Armchair (Red, Yellow, Green) and Table with Two Blocks factor in as his latest developments – the culmination of previous projects produced in both Paris and Rotterdam. Having mastered the intensity of colour, geometric arangement and the thickness at which resin can be cast, these pieces juxtapose opacity and translucency. Proficient in process, Park will still admit to experimentation and happenstance driving his process, especially as he plans to broaden his horizons: future projects in glass, metal and interior applications. However, the Korean designer doesn’t plan on leaving resin behind. No matter what, he always hopes that his pieces will speak for themselves.