‘Again, From the Earth’s Foundation’ composed verses of nature-infused design

Again, From The Earth's Foundation, hosted by the Korea Craft and Design Foundation for Salone 2022 in the Brera district, displayed objects citing empathy and respect for nature.

by STIRworldPublished on : Jun 18, 2022

"Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature.” - Pope Francis (2020)

Amid years of research, documentation, and innovation to understand how circularity actually works, the journey materials take to become functional objects, humans, as their creators, often forget to reflect upon their genesis – how the first tool came from nature, as did our food, our clothes, our shelters. For mankind, aiming to conquer the now and beyond of the universe we inhabit, our ends seem to converge at our beginnings, in nature. The outbreak of a pandemic brought the world to a standstill for two years, where we saw how nature reclaimed its place in the absence of humans. This is how nature shows us hope and resilience.

In a bid to reconnect and respect the natural world, on which we depend so much for daily survival, an exhibition on show at the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli in the Brera Design District during Milan Design Week 2022 called Again, From the Earth’s Foundation, addressed the potential of the design industry to create sustainably, responsibly and mindfully. With its modest, simple and sophisticated lineup of product designs and artworks, the design exhibition tackled the theme of respect and empathy for nature, bringing attention to the value of craftsmanship and the use of raw materials that originate from nature itself, in these times where we face a pandemic, climate change and moral crisis.

<em>Again, From The  Earth's Foundation</em>hosted by Korea Craft and Design Foundation(KDCF) was held within Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, in the Brera design district for Milan Design Week 2022 | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation for Salone 2022 | STIRworld
Again, From The Earth's Foundation hosted by Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF) was held within Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, in the Brera design district for Milan Design Week 2022Image: Courtesy of Brera
A glimpse of the exhibition <i>Again, From The Earth's Foundation</i>, where objects symbolically rest between the sun, sky and the earth | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation for Salone 2022 | STIRworld
A glimpse of the exhibition Again, From The Earth's Foundation, where objects symbolically rest between the sun, sky and the earthImage: Courtesy of Brera

Following the theme for the historic Brera district, 'Designing the Present, Choosing the Future', the Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF) based in Seoul, South Korea, organised the 2022 edition of the Korean Craft Exhibition, underscored by the naturalism of Korean aesthetics and crafting techniques. This followed the concept of Sobak(素朴), "a natural or raw state without any human touch" or "original state" hailing from the words So (素), "A pure white state when silkworm’s threads are yet to be dyed", and Bak(朴), "Raw hardwood that needs to be sanded". Sobak, therefore, translates roughly to spiritual crafts entrenched in 'naturalism', untouched by humans, synonymous with a natural state of being that tries to return to what it was while appreciating the very foundation of the earth and of sacral nature.

A special collaboration between Italian designer Mario Trimarchi and Korean craftsmen Hyungkun Lee and Jiho Lee birthed design pieces in brass named <i>Altar for offering flowers to the Gods</i> | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation for Salone 2022 | STIRworld
A special collaboration between Italian designer Mario Trimarchi and Korean craftsmen Hyungkun Lee and Jiho Lee birthed design pieces in brass named Altar for offering flowers to the Gods Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
Conceptual sketches by Mario Trimarchi for his collaborative pieces shown at<em>Again, From The Earth's Foundation</em> | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation for Salone 2022 | STIRworld
Conceptual sketches by Mario Trimarchi for his collaborative pieces shown at Again, From The Earth's Foundation Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
In the collaboration between Italian architect Michele De Lucchi and Korean craftsmen Gangyong Park and Namgwon Lyu, wood is explored in <i>Ottchil</i>, a Korean lacquer technique for the creation of the pieces named <i>LaccaOttchilCucita</i> (in red, yellow and blue) | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation for Salone 2022 | STIRworld
In the collaboration between Italian architect Michele De Lucchi and Korean craftsmen Gangyong Park and Namgwon Lyu, wood is explored in Ottchil, a Korean lacquer technique for the creation of the pieces named Lacca Ottchil Cucita (in red, yellow and blue) Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
<em>Pelleossa/K</em>(L) and <em>Pepa/K (R), </em> from Francesco Faccin x SungjaHur's special collaboration take shape in the unique craftsmanship and weaving techniques of both Italian and Korean crafts | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation for Salone 2022 | STIRworld
Pelleossa/K (L) and Pepa/K (R), from Francesco Faccin x Sungja Hur's special collaboration take shape in the unique craftsmanship and weaving techniques of both Italian and Korean crafts Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)

Elaborating on the exhibition's intent, the president of the Korea Craft & Design Foundation, Taehoon Kim, stated, "The theme… centres around values of crafts made from the mother Earth’s by-products as well as aesthetics of respecting nature amidst the pressing climate crisis and prolonged pandemic. (It) will be a great occasion where you can experience and understand the naturalism of Korean aesthetics... As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Korean Craft Exhibition at Milan Design Week, collaborative works between three Italian designers and three Korean craftsmen will be displayed for the first time. This represents yet another evolution of craft going beyond the convergence of two cultures. Moreover, the exhibition showcases around 100 pieces of excellent craft work with ingredients such as metal, textile, wood, glass, hanji (traditional Korean paper made out of the bark of the mulberry tree) which all represent the essence of Korean craft."

<em>Becoming</em> by Junghee Yoon is shaped by overlapping layers of thin copper wire to create loops that resonate with nature in a sense of aliveness | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation for Salone 2022 | STIRworld
Becoming by Junghee Yoon is shaped by overlapping layers of thin copper wire to create loops that resonate with nature in a sense of aliveness Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
<em>Waterdrops</em> by Junghee Yoon is  woven out of multiple loops of thin copper wire | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
Waterdrops by Junghee Yoon is woven out of multiple loops of thin copper wire Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
Potter Sengchul Kang of Damhwa Heon reflects on the fermentation process and shapes the <i>Black Moon Jar</i> with Jeju island's clay and local techniques | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
Potter Sengchul Kang of Damhwa Heon reflects on the fermentation process and shapes the Black Moon Jar with Jeju island's clay and local techniques Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
Sukkeun Kang created 3mm thick bowl-shaped pieces while lacquering more than 7 times with zelkova tree for the wood and stone objects, <em>Sand1</em> | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
Sukkeun Kang created 3 mm thick bowl-shaped pieces while lacquering more than seven times with zelkova tree for the wood and stone objects, Sand1 Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)

Opening its doors for the cultural union celebrating the pursuit of beauty from the earth, Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, for the first time, became the venue for a major exhibition at Milan Design Week, hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea. Under the artistic direction of Shinjae Kang and curation of Kyuhyun Lee, Again, From the Earth's Foundation witnessed three collaborations between renowned Italian designers Michele De Lucchi, Mario Trimarchi, and Francesco Faccin with three Korean master craftsmen Gangyong Park, Hyungkun Lee, and SungjaHur, respectively. The coalescence of the different cultures brought about pieces that interpreted Korean aesthetics in design and craftsmanship with the skilful use of natural raw materials.

In Eunjung Ryu's <i>Still Serene II</i>, strands of silver grass take organic forms of daily objects such as spoons and forks | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
In Eunjung Ryu's Still Serene II, strands of silver grass take organic forms of daily objects such as spoons and forks Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
<em>Horsehair</em> by Dahye Joeng reveals comb-pattern pottery made of thin and fragile horsehair |  Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation|  STIRworld
Horsehair by Dahye Joeng reveals comb-pattern pottery made of thin and fragile horsehair Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
Neungho Lee's <em>House</em>series is  made of objects in ceramic that are patted tens of thousands of times, grappling  with a hugemass of clay in the beginning | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
Neungho Lee's House series is made of objects in ceramic that are patted tens of thousands of times, grappling with a huge mass of clay in the beginning Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
By weaving threads collected from plastic bag waste, Taeyoun Kim created <em>Yarn; the beginning where it all ends</em> | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
By weaving threads collected from plastic bag waste, Taeyoun Kim created Yarn; the beginning where it all ends Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)

"We often use a phrase like 'natural-looking' when seeing something that looks just fine without any depletion or excessiveness. The phrase 'natural-looking' means something that looks close to 'nature', and Mother Nature accepts our humble attitude which can be characterised as right-mindedness (中正) as well as moderation (中庸). While it might be a bit late to return to the earth’s foundation– a state of Sobak(素朴), the most natural and intact state, (is aspirational) - we should still listen to the way of nature with humility while freeing ourselves from the indulgence of material desires. The craftsmen's ingredients come from Mother Earth and nature. Characteristics of such ingredients, our hands and senses, together create beautiful beings that are given enough time and perseverance... Mother Earth is a cradle of humans as well as the final resting place. This exhibition is a small attempt to showcase natural crafts appreciating the foundation of the earth as well as simple yet candid beauty of nature, with a touch of Korean aesthetics," stated the Artistic Director of the exhibition, Shinjae Kang.

Yoonna Eum used paper cords as the main material to form<em>Beakmi Wall</em> and <em>Dam</em> | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
Yoonna Eum used paper cords as the main material to form Beakmi Wall and Dam Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
Similar to the process of cell division, Kyeok Kim created a variety of patterns by connecting a single, or couple strands of copper wire using a crochet needle to form the pieces of the <em>Second Surface</em> | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
Similar to the process of cell division, Kyeok Kim created a variety of patterns by connecting a single, or couple strands of copper wire using a crochet needle to form the pieces of the Second Surface Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
For the <em>Breathing of Light</em>, Kyou-Hong Lee laid pieces of glass on the surface of a flat mirror to impart a dreamy sense of depth, symbolic of the universe | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
For the Breathing of Light, Kyou-Hong Lee laid pieces of glass on the surface of a flat mirror to impart a dreamy sense of depth, symbolic of the universe Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
Exploring both the law and chaos of nature, Hyejeong Kim shapes the Tree of Life series through ceramic | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
Exploring both the law and chaos of nature, Hyejeong Kim shapes the Tree of Life series through ceramic Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
Jaenah Jung's <em>Dancheong Chair</em> is characterised by gradation of the Korean traditional <em>dancheong</em> pattern | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
Jaenah Jung's Dancheong Chair is characterised by gradation of the Korean traditional dancheong pattern Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)
Inspired by building formats, Hyunjee Jung's <i>White Brick and Gap</i> interprets plain ingredients like silk in a solid manner under the theme 'From Plane to Solid' | Again, From The Earth's Foundation | Korea Craft and Design Foundation| STIRworld
Inspired by building formats, Hyunjee Jung's White Brick and Gap interprets plain ingredients like silk in a solid manner under the theme 'From Plane to Solid' Image: Courtesy of Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KDCF)

STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR's coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.

(Text by Sunena V Maju, intern at STIRworld)

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