Criteria series by Chiho Cheon

Chiho Cheon is a South Korean designer that takes inspiration from everyday life. His work is the result of observations and interactions in which everyday objects play an essential role. Criteria Series is a collection of 9 colorful pieces inspired by Seoul’s homeless population and their shelters, made out of cardboard boxes. As Chiho explains, cardboard ‘walls’ are the criteria for the homeless, whereas cement walls are the standard for the ordinary. Criteria series comprised these two distinct elements, using corrugated cardboard coated with cement.

The Beginning

Chiho Cheon: I thought about the Criteria’s concept after observing how the homeless people lived at Seoul Station. The fact that they were living in a ‘box’ led me to think: what’s the one-dimensional difference between the homeless and the ordinary people?
People who live between cement walls are seen as ordinary, whereas the people who live outside of these cement walls are seen as homeless – cement walls are criteria for the ordinary. At the same time, from the point of view of the homeless, this frontier is even more fragile: people who walk outside of their cardboard boxes are simply ordinary people. The same social phenomenon is perceptible through different standards.

Chiho Cheon: In Criteria series, I am proposing a new standard using materials of different realities. Each item is made with lacquered corrugated cardboard to harden it and then coated with cement, emphasizing the contrast between fragile paper and solid cement.

The main challenges & results

Chiho Cheon: Hardening the cement with the corrugated cardboard, while increasing the hardness of concrete color was a very difficult challenge. There were made many tests on materials to make it work.

Chiho Cheon: The final pieces of furniture and objects emphasize drawing lines. I crumpled the corrugated line to have my own identity. The crumpled lines are the feature of this work, and many color tests and textures have been studied to achieve this result. People say it reminds them of monochrome paintings.

Interview with Chiho Cheon | Photography: Chiho Cheon