Michael Coffey’s Furniture Is Fundamentally Functional Sculpture

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“I started as a furniture-maker, but eventually felt limited by conventional notions about what furniture was supposed to look like and how it should be built. I now approach my work fundamentally as sculpture, but likewise have resisted passing over the line into pure or nonfunctional form.” – Michael Coffey

According to Michael Coffey, design is not just about art. It’s also a form of “problem solving.” He sees commissions as creative collaboration– loving most when patrons desire something entirely new, more different than his previous work.

As far as process is concerned, Coffey begins with a small wooden model, then develops a design on paper with set dimensions. First cuts generally begin with the buzz of a chainsaw, followed by the use of smaller, more refined, cutters and discs. Part of the fun is figuring out which tools will service the work best.  Click on the video after the jump to see more of his work and philosophy.

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Bae Sehwa’s Beautifully Bent Furniture

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Bae Sehwa’s steamed bentwood furniture ripples in airy and sinewy ways to curve around the human body. The precision in each piece is not accidental. It’s acutely planned. Sehwa digitally renders and manipulates geometric forms then returns to the actual physical form, steaming and bending the wood into a mold under a tight watch. The result is functional, organically smooth, and flawless.

According to R Gallery, “Bae Sehwa’s work is derived from the Korean concept of baesanimsu, meaning the back of the mountain and front of the water and he draws heavily from the profound connection to nature in traditional Korean theories of divination. The steam bent wooden frame of this lounge offers a narrative that includes both the tranquil, meditative qualities of flowing water and the strong, comforting silhouette of a mountain.” Read More >

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JEAHYO LEE’s Functional Art Furniture

Jeahyo Lee’s work falls somewhere between functional furniture and sculpture. His massive wooden benches and chairs weight between 400-1000 pounds and its smooth curves can compete with the latest sports cars. When not using wood Lee turns to steel creating densely patterned orbs out of stainless steel nails which reference coral reefs and the textures that we find deep underwater. Lee’s work is not only is masterfully crafted but brings out the inner nature of the materials that he uses.

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