Born in the United States, raised in Korea, and now based in Detroit, Cho makes work that balances the cultural influences of her personal history and everyday surroundings. Trained in woodworking and furniture design at Hongik University in Korea, and later in 3D Design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, the designer’s output runs the gamut from sculptural furnishings to her “wobble containers,” small wooden disks and cups, sized for holding wallets or keys, that respond to slight movements—gently reminding you to grab your essentials on the way out the door. As a furniture designer, Cho describes her practice in terms of traditional Korean aesthetics—the negative space surrounding the object is just as important as the object itself.
Across her designs, Cho’s minimalist approach is activated by a sense of play. An early project, In, Side Table (2010) first appears to be an ordinary maple-wood table, but lifting its top reveals the warm glow of a paper lamp. The result is surprising and amusing, yet also practical—why not combine two objects so commonly used in tandem? A similar sense of economy bolsters Ideal Home Project (2013), where a chair, table, bed, and lamp combine as a single piece of furniture. In smaller objects, like those in her Bent Mirror Series (2014), sculpture and function fuse. Pieces of brass, copper, and stainless steel are polished to a high sheen and folded into architectural forms. Seen together, they resemble a shiny cityscape confined to a table top—but they could likewise be used as mirrors, paperweights, or bookends.
The coming year will be a busy one for Cho. After recently launching her new studio, she’ll be showing her work at exhibitions in the U.S., Canada, and Germany.