Seoul-based designer Jeonghwa Seo has furnished a cafe and wine bar with furniture that celebrates the qualities of raw materials.
The furniture was custom made for Et Cetera in Seoul, a space that features a raw concrete interior. To complement this, Seo chose to make pieces with an unfinished quality, using cast aluminium, oak and brass.
“The most important aspect of this project was to show the pure quality of the materials,” said Seo. “I wanted to create a space where people can experience them.”
The larger pieces stand on bases made of cast aluminium, welded into elongated elliptical shapes. The welding join-lines were not ground down, in order to show off the making process.
“I have been using aluminium throughout my previous works because cast aluminium is light, cost-effective, and can be 100 per cent recycled,” said Seo. “It can also be welded without its shape changing in the heat.”
Oak was selected for the seats and finishes on the chairs and tables, while brass is mainly used for the lighting.
As well as concrete, the cafe interior also makes good use of glass. The entire facade, including the door, is made from the material, meaning the space is completely visible from the street.
To emphasise this, the designer chose to place one bench through the glass wall at the front of the cafe, to provide seating both inside and outside.
“In order to express the theme of ‘continuity of space’, a bench, lights, and stones are installed to express movement through a space which is divided only by glass,” explained Seo.
The floor of Et Cetera is raised from street-level and made from a single slab of carved concrete. The edges of the concrete are left exposed on an outdoor terrace to reveal the single mass.
Lighting is used to highlight the raw feel of these surfaces.
“Wall lamps and floor lamps are designed for maximising the textures of space,” said Seo. “In order to do that, I made sure that light flows on the surface of materials.”
Bar counters and stools are extensions of Seo’s existing work, and take an elliptical form. These can be easily reconfigured depending on how the place is being used.
“Et Cetera is a space where crafts, coffee, and wine are sold together,” explained Seo. “The clients asked that the entire space can be transformed flexibly, except for the table for eight people.”
A towering wine rack is constructed from old wine crates built into the wall.
“I wanted to build the tower of wine boxes with wood, brick and muds in a rather primitive way,” said Seo. “I constructed it myself. The taste of wine is closely related with time, so I wanted to make a wine tower that seemed to have been built a long time ago.”
Along the glass facade Seo created a “forest of cubes” out of concrete blocks that acts as plinths for planter pots.
Also celebrating raw materials, Rotterdam-based architects Rink Tilanus built an office with rough concrete walls that is designed to blend into its nature-reserve setting in Zierikzee, the Netherlands.