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2017/58/1 Stool, 'New Armor, Bronze stool / blue', bronze / lacquer (ott-chil), designed and made by Kwangho Lee, Seoul, South Korea, 2014. Click to enlarge.

'New Armor' stool by Kwangho Lee

The 'New Armor' series was inspired by body armour from the Korean Joseon dynasty (1382-1897). Korean designer Kwangho Lee has utilised traditional Asian 'ott-chil' lacquer technique to make contemporary furniture. In this stool, bronze forms the structural body, with the seat coated in paper and ott-chill lacquer. The result is a high gloss finish with a textured pattern that contrasts with the matt finish of the metal.

The stool is representative of the work of Kwangho Lee, a contemporary …


Object No.


Object Statement

Stool, 'New Armor, Bronze stool / blue', bronze / lacquer (ott-chil), designed and made by Kwangho Lee, Seoul, South Korea, 2014

Physical Description

Bronze stool with flat rectangular back, flat rectangular seat and curved base. The top of the seat is coated with blue glossy lacquer (ottchil, or ott-chil), with traditional 'hanji' paper compounded beneath.


No marks



600 mm


345 mm


490 mm



Designed and made by Kwangho Lee (b1981), Seoul, South Korea, 2014. The 'New Armor' series was inspired by body armor from the Korean Joseon dynasty (1382-1897). The ott-chil (ottchil) lacquer resin is derived from the secretions of the Ott tree. Traditionally applied to wood for finishing and protecting the surface, in this case ott-chil is used over paper on the bronze stool. The result is a high gloss finish that contrasts with the matt metal.

'New Armor' is an extension of the Skin series which was a study of Korea's traditional enamel 'chilbo' and a number surface changes of copper. This New Armor roots from the armor 'gap-ui-ji' from the Joseon Dynasty which is made of 'ottchil' (equilvalent to the Japanese 'urushi') painted traditional paper 'hanji'. After making thick layers of hanji, multiple painting of ottchil was done and this made the armor very solid and could even withstand fire. The form and shape remained in a remarkable condition due to the ottchil's ability to conserve the original shape. By researching the many possibilities of ottchil these new series were created.'

Victor Hunt Designart dealer (2014),,
[accessed 17 May 2017]

'The bronze, which the body is made of, is another extended portion of my previous Skin series (copper), by using another type of metal. From the idea of bronze being the very first alloy invented by human, I wanted to express my pieces as if they were part of the excavated relics of the past and then are carefully restored to be presented to the world.

The shapes are motivated from the curved lines of the shoulder and abdomen of the armor. And in order to make it resemble more like the suit, I went through a preprocess of cutting out styrofoam blocks in same measurements, glueing them together to make layers, then again cutting them out into parts of the furniture and finally casting them in bronze, this resulting with a ribbed surface. The ottchil painted in sectional parts are finished so that the exposed stripes of the surface could reveal the cold metalness of the bronze, giving it a strong contrast between the two materials while adding the solid and immortal feeling of the gab-ui-ji armor.'
Kwangho Lee, (Undated), [accessed 17 May 2017]



Designed and made by Kwangho Lee (b1981), Seoul, South Korea, 2014. Purchased directly from the designer's agent/dealer in Belgium.

Kwangho Lee was born in 1981 and grew up in a small city next to Seoul, Korea. Influenced by his grandfather's practical abilities to build implements for use on the farm, he learnt traditional crafts from an early age. He completed his studies at Hongik University in Seoul, majoring in Metal Art & Design, and graduated in February 2007. He was nominated for Jury's Selection of Designer of The Future at Design Miami/Basel in 2009, was selected as Artist of The Year 2011 by the Korean Ministry of Culture, and Young Craftsman of The Year by Yeol (a society for Korean cultural heritage) in 2013.

Lee is represented by Johnson Trading Gallery (New York) and Victor Hunt (Brussels). His works have been shown by Karena Schuessler (Berlin) and Clear Gallery & Edition (Tokyo) along with group projects and international exhibitions such as Design Miami/Basel, and Design Days Dubai. His work is in the permanent collections of the Montral Museum of Fine Arts, M+ Museum Hong Kong, Leeum Museum Seoul and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA).


Credit Line

Purchased 2017

Acquisition Date

14 December 2017

Cite this Object


'New Armor' stool by Kwangho Lee 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 1 June 2023, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='New Armor' stool by Kwangho Lee |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=1 June 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}