At this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair, we will be introduced to South Korean design and lifestyle brand Wekino for the first time, when they introduce the new ”With” collection, curated by Swedish Note Design Studio. ”With” is a celebration of homegrown talent and features eight new products from six of the most dynamic names in contemporary Korean design.
South Korea is a country that has undergone rapid cultural change and is now internationally recognized as a leading voice in fashion, film, and music – and now it’s time for the world to experience the best of Korean product design. The designers behind the pieces in the collection on display at the Stockholm Furniture Fair are united by their curiosity about the world at large, the role that design objects play in our lives, and their desire to push the boundaries of what design can be and do.
Selected by Note Design Studio, the products in the collection reflect both the rich craftsmanship heritage of Korea and the country’s hyper-modern vibrancy, ranging from lounge chairs and tables to bookcases, rugs, mirrors, and coat hangers. Familiar furniture but with new creative expressions and an exquisite encounter between the high energy of urban experiences and the calm contemplation of the traditional.
All the products in the collection are created with a strong focus on materials, textures, lines, and form – but at the same time, they never compromise on providing our interiors with both functionality and comfort. Whatever the intended use, each product embraces the beautiful contradictions of contemporary Korean design and reflects the pioneering spirit of Wekino.
The ”With” collection, and the presence at this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair, marks an exciting next chapter for Wekino, which has the ambition to create a powerhouse of Korean design and to be a global platform for sharing the country’s multifaceted creativity.
The collection features products from the following South Korean designers:
Billow Lounge Chair by WEKINO
Inspired by heavy clouds resting above the mountains, the Billow Lounge Chair harmoniously blends dense, curvaceous upholstery with a linear, architectural base crafted from solid oak. Billow’s sumptuous comfort and generous dimensions make it a rewarding seating option for any interior context, ranging from public spaces to homes and other private settings.
Kwangho Lee majored in Metal Art and Design at Hongik University and today lives and works in Seoul. Making things by hand provided great joy for him as a child, reminding him of his grandfather, a farmer, who regularly crafted household goods from natural materials found nearby. Lee appreciated this way of looking at everyday objects and began to approach his work in a similar fashion — giving new meaning and function to ordinary things. Today, as Lee continues to present new series of works, he develops his practice by discovering new instances of materials coming together.
Pirouette by Kwangho Lee
Based on a prototype produced by Kwangho Lee in partnership with Phaidon Press in 2015, Pirouette has now been reimagined as a shelving collection reflecting Wekinos’s distinctive creative philosophy. In the new collaboration, the role of the object has been maximized to offer diverse compositions including two-tier and three-tier options. Just like its new name, Pirouette is a flexible, multifunctional shelving system suited to all sorts of spaces.
PESI, which stands for Possibility, Essential, Standpoint, Interpretation, is a Seoul-based industrial design studio founded by Byounghwi Jeon in 2015. Studio PESI focuses on simplicity, functionality, and rationality, aiming to deliver sensitive and emotional experiences into everyday life by exploring form, function and the potential of the industrial manufacturing process.
Stout by Studio PESI
Designed by Studio PESI, the Stout collection comprises a dining chair and armchair constructed from powder-coated tubular steel. With its curved components and high level of craftsmanship, STOUT offers a balance between robust materiality and elegant form. As the name implies, this sturdy seating option brings durability and comfort to a variety of commercial spaces including cafes and restaurants — as well as dining spaces at home.
Studio Word was established by Kyuhyung Cho and Jungyou Choi in 2018. Based between Seoul and Europe, the studio is active in the fields of graphics, product, furniture, and space design. Their aim is to coin a creative and useful language of design based on the close observation and discovery of their surroundings and objects; their comprehensive understanding of tradition and modernity; as well as their work ethic of maintaining fresh perspectives and genuineness.
Oddly by Studio Word
The bold design featured in the richly tactile Oddly rug was inspired by a Joseon-era painting of strange, amorphous rock shapes. With a three-dimensional composition and an unpredictable, irregular pattern of both jagged lines and sweeping curves, the inviting color combinations pop when encountered across the varying levels of the carpet.
Studio-Chacha’s aim is to present a new sense of beauty through unfamiliar combinations of familiar materials in the making of furniture and objects. The studio is currently discovering new material properties by adding gradient colors to transparent glass and changing the shape of angular objects into amorphous shapes.
Chroma by Studio-Chacha
Chroma is an art object and mirror inspired by a patchwork wrapping cloth — a vibrant example of traditional Korean craftwork created by weaving together colorful scraps of leftover fabric. In addition to wrapping or transporting objects, these useful cloths were sometimes hung on walls and used as kaleidoscopic interior decorations. Chroma is a contemporary take on an object that combines the functional (mirror) with the pleasurable (art).
Kunsik Choi is active in the fields of furniture, objects, and space design and today lives and works in Stockholm. The focus is on researching the working methods of artisans, the positivity derived from thoughtful ideas, the power of handmade items, and the intimacy of design. Based on new perspectives and interpretations of that intimacy, he creates works within the realms of art and design.
Salong Table by Studio Kunsik
Designed with the motif of the ’Sculptor’s Atelier,’ the table was created for various tasks while also serving the creator to enjoy meals and tea in daily life. The purpose of the work was to find a form that fits well in both residential and public spaces. In comparison to the overall proportions of the table, the octagonal wooden legs add a sense of volume, making them sturdy and structurally stable. The tabletop is finished with practical materials that are suitable for various purposes.
KUO DUO is a creative studio for three-dimensional design based in South Korea, led by Hwachan Lee and Yoomin Maeng who majored in Industrial Design at Hongik University in Seoul. The studio creates furniture, products for living, and installations that explore the boundaries of design — from experimental one-off projects to mass-produced products. The design process is accompanied by hands-on experiments and investigations into materials and making, helping the studio to expand their adventures in expression and imagination.
Reel Hanger by KUO DUO
Reel Hanger is a coat rack designed by KUO DUO based on the dynamic, flowing characteristics of the creative studio’s earlier product, Reel Basket. The aluminum body gives the hooks just the right amount of weight and strength, while the texture of the sand-casted surface mimics the tactile feeling of a handmade ceramic. This handy accessory is offered in two sizes and six colors.
Book Worm by KUO DUO
For Book Worm, KUO DUO imagined a fluid, organic line. The product can store and display reading material, or function as an art object in its own right. Like Reel Hanger, Book Worm is crafted using aluminum sand casting. The material’s texture and weight grounds the product when placed on a shelf or table, while making it easy to display items ranging from slender LPs to hefty publications.
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Wekino represents the space that makes up life and the time it contains. A lifestyle brand that proposes elements that make up life, such as books, coffee, blank space, and color, with a focus on furniture. The company’s ambition is to establish a powerhouse of Korean design and a global platform from which to share the multifaceted outcomes that reflect both the rich heritage of craft in their region and the vibrancy of the modern metropolis.
To be able to deliver diverse and new content, Wekino has been actively collaborating with various designers through the launch of the Wekino With collection in 2023. Currently, Wekino operate flagship stores and an online shop based in the three cities of Seoul, Busan, and Daegu in South Korea.
About Note Design Studio
Founded in 2008 by Johannes Karlström and Cristiano Pigazzini, Note is a Stockholm-based design studio working across the fields of architecture, interiors, products, graphic design, and design strategy. Now comprising a large and varied team of designers, Note has grown to become one of the most internationally admired names in Scandinavian design, working with a wide range of international design brands and winning a steady stream of design awards.