A DESIGNER BORN IN THE KOREAN ARMY

Kika Espejo
Jun 29 · 3 min read

Furniture Pieces that Tell a Life Story

C Desk. 64"L x 26"W x 20"H Solid Walnut, Solid Brass Oil finish. Image courtesy of Joseph C. Furniture

“I was a DMZ policeman for 2 years during the mandatory Korean military service where I worked as a Guard Post, and I had lots of time to think looking at nature on the other side of the fence.” A long time has passed since Joseph Chun started imagining his career as a product designer while contemplating the immensity of the Korean landscape, and he could never have believed what a great one he would become. He chose furniture, among other products of design, because as he says, “It is something we all have to interact and feel with own our body on a daily basis yet has infinite possibilities of improvement.”

He draws his inspirations from his rich journey growing up in different cultures. Born in Daegu, North Gyeongsang Province of South Korea, his life journey took him from Seoul to Wisconsin, then to North Carolina and back to Korea to complete his Army service, finally landing in New York City. He is now based in Red Hook, Brooklyn where he works and lives.

Motivation Pack. 24”L x 18”W x 57.5”H Solid Walnut, Solid Brass Oil Finish. Image courtesy of Joseph C. Furniture

“I feel my furniture pieces are a reflection of my experiences. I use wood because it is in itself a material with a story. None of the grain patterns are the same and that makes each piece have an original fingerprint that is just impossible to replicate. Also, wood, unlike metal, plastic or stone, is a material closer to our body temperature that makes it the material that agrees and comforts our bodies.”

Joseph is presenting his most recent collection at Cargo Project Gallery, a new art space operating on the border of the trendy art neighborhood of Bushwick and Ridgewood in New York City. “We opened Cargo Project Gallery with the idea of bringing underexposed international artists and creatives to New York,” says Kika Espejo, the founder and director. “We fell in love with Joseph’s story and his work. He creates pieces of furniture that bring memories of a past you have not lived, as a kind of time travel. His pieces make you reminisce cultures you have never had the opportunity to experience but that come to your senses through his work.”

The exhibition, that will open Wednesday, July 3rd, would be a one-night show which is going to be the Cargo Project Gallery regular format. “We have a program that will present a wide range of disciplines for one-night exhibitions and events, from censored Cuban photography-based artists to socially engaged illustrators from Iran, and a controversial web series projection of 9/11 comedy from Spain,” Kika says. “We are really excited to start our program with Joseph’s show and we hope it will be well received by the Bushwick/Ridgewood community.”

Kika Espejo
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