Designer Seung Han Lee has created a chair that no waiting room should be without. The Magazine rack chair consists of a series of stainless steel rails that can be used to sit on and hang magazines at the same time.
iDesign talked to the South Korean designer, who is currently is currently developing his own line of furniture from his studio in England, about how he got an early start in design and why the world of furniture appeals to him so strongly.
Jacob Kleinman: What was the inspiration for this design?
Seung Han Lee: It was developed based on the concept of designing specifically for a single person household with the idea of saving space. It was inspired by the idea of combining a magazine rack and chair into one multi-functional, space saving design. I have personally experienced a situation where I was reading many different magazines at the same time, and always forgot the which page I was on. As a designer, I thought about how to solve that problem.
I also designed the feet of the chair to connect with my Smiling Bookcase. The idea for that piece was to make a bookcase with recycled scrap wood, using colorful plastic resin instead of glue.
JK: How does this piece represent your style and vision as a designer?
SHL: No one piece of furniture entirely represents my style and vision as a designer, but rather the whole collection. However, a lot of my design considerations come from a desire to obtain maximum practical usage from minimum physical space.
JK: How has the piece been received by critics and consumers?
SHL: The response has been fantastic, for which I am extremely pleased and grateful. I have received interest from design publications in 13 different countries worldwide, including Icon, ELLE, and GQ.
JK: How did you become interested in design?
SHL: My interest in art and design started when I was just three years old. My father was an architect and I grew up in South Korea, which has an extremely rich history in terms of art and design. I was fascinated by the books my father brought home for me everyday from work and in no time I established a wide ranging and diverse collection of books covering all aspects of art, architecture and design. The pictures greatly interested me as a child and became a huge source of inspiration and motivation to start drawing seriously from a very early age. Drawing became more than a hobby to me. It gave me a means to express myself due to my father's influence and encouragement at the age of 10 years old. I studied graphic design in South Korea and 3D design in England, which helped me develop my own style.
JK: What is your professional background?
SHL: I entered and won second place in the most prestigious drawing competition for children in Korea. This only motivated me to further pursue my ambition and become a respected, reputable artist and designer. I graduated in Graphic Design in South Korea. At University I won a competition to design a uniform for Mr. Pizza Co. The award was titled "Special Prize for Graphic Design," and my work was published in a book of all the winners.
After my graduation I worked for a website design company for a year. Then I worked as a designer for an advertising company. Both these jobs were extremely enjoyable, but I realised my true passion as a designer lies in furniture. I'm completely obsessed with, and interested in, the structures that surround us everywhere.
Studying 3-Dimensional Design at Brighton University has helped me to develop my creativity and research skill, considerably broadening my practical knowledge of using materials.