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An intriguing wooden furniture collection receives an ancient enamelling process and it’s exquisite.

Kwangho Lee

The Shape of a River wooden furniture collection boasts enamelled copper panels made using an ancient Korean firing technique. Credit: Kwangho Lee

With his stunning Shape of a River wooden furniture collection, South Korean designer Kwangho Lee inlaid cherry wood furniture with enamelled copper panels made using an ancient Korean firing technique.

Having experimented with the ancient technique since 2010, Lee has honed this ancient enamelling process, which dates back to the 15th century and involves applying wet or dry crushed coloured glass to copper sheets.

The pieces of copper are baked in an oven called a chilbo (loosely translated as ‘seven colours of gem’), a traditional Korean kiln that creates extreme heat.

As the heat moves across the copper, a shimmering effect is created on its surface that resembles the reflective nature of water – hence the collection’s name.

Thereafter, the industrial sheets of copper are joined together under intense heat. Lee aimed to create a raw finish.

“The only thing I intended on was leaving the welded edges of the piece as is. Normally, one sands them down for a smooth surface, but I kept the welded trail,” says Lee.

The panels are then inlaid into the cherry wood frames to create grids of dynamic colour.

The 25-piece collection comprises chairs, lamps, stools, vases and consoles.