past Talk

Keynote: Kwangho Lee

Location marker iconUltimoTime icon2023

For Sydney Design Week 2023, South Korean designer Kwangho Lee will deliver a keynote presentation followed by an in-conversation with Sydney Design Week creative director Keinton Butler.

The joy of making is central to explaining my work
Kwangho Lee
Casually dressed man sits amongst creative pieces.

Lee’s work conveys an excitement for materials and craft that has deep roots in his childhood in rural South Korea: observing his grandparents using natural materials to make tools and everyday objects fostered his interest in making things with his hands. During his keynote talk, Lee will reflect on his early career, specifically his fabrication experiments with wood, stone, straw and sculpted Styrofoam, and share insights into the processes behind his recent work, including his celebrated knotted nylon cord and enamelled copper furniture collections.

On display during the keynote will be Lee’s New Armor stool, acquired by Powerhouse in 2014. An act of cultural preservation, the stool was inspired by body armour from the Korean Joseon dynasty and used a traditional 'ott-chil' lacquer technique derived from the sap of the rhus tree, native to Japan and China.

Lee most recently exhibited in the MaterialExternal link icon exhibition alongside Formafantasma at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT gallery in Tokyo, Japan – an exhibition that sought to ‘reinterpret the human relationship to raw material’.


Kwangho Lee is the founder of Seoul-based studio Kwangho Lee Office. In 2009 Lee was nominated for the jury's selection of Designers of the Future at Design Miami/Basel and was shortlisted as Wallpaper* magazine’s Designer of the Year in 2023. Lee’s works are in the permanent collections at Powerhouse, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Kwangho Lee is represented by Salon 94 Design in New York and recently collaborated with Finnish brand Vaarnii and Swedish brand Hem.

Keinton Butler is senior curator, design and architecture at Powerhouse. Butler leads collaborative exhibition, commission, and research projects with a focus on socially and environmentally engaged design practices from the Asia Pacific region. Butler obtained a Master of Arts in Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston School of Art (in partnership with the Design Museum London) and has researched the contemporary, cultural, and environmental aspects of furniture manufacturing and production at RMIT University. Butler is creative director of Sydney Design Week 2023.



On Gadigal land

Powerhouse Ultimo
500 Harris St
Ultimo NSW 2007

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$15 General
$12 Concession

16 September 2023

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We encourage visitors with accessibility requirements to contact us via or (02) 9217 0222 for help in planning your visit. We accept Companion Cards.

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Object No. 2017/58/1
Stool, 'New Armor, Bronze stool / blue', bronze / lacquer (ott-chil), designed and made by Kwangho Lee, Seoul, South Korea, 2014
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