Studio SMA’s Furniture Is Inspired by Universal Architectural Elements

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In architecture, there are basic elements that are essential, fundamental, and universal. They are found in virtually all built structures and transcend cultures, time periods, and style. These elements can be simplified down to columns, beams, and slabs and the innovation of architecture depends on how they can all be re-orchestrated. For SeungBum Ma, architect and founder of his eponymous practice Studio SMA, these parts not only serve a practical purpose but also have beauty in their rigidity, uniformity, and proportions. He highlights these qualities in his recent collection, Form-Functional Archi-Furniture, in which he develops a unique system of designing furniture much like building architecture.

Ma uses birch plywood for economic, constructibility, and durability reasons but the materiality is essentially eliminated with the application of color. Instead, the color brings attention to the structural system, recalling familiar notions and theories found in architecture.

The furniture can be used as a bookshelf, bench, or a standalone object. Because they are designed as grids and modules, any piece can be expanded vertically or horizontally, combined, or condensed smaller. With infinite color and material configurations, the collection can be fully customized to any space and preference.

Just recently, Ma won Best Young Designer at the Seoul Design Festival for the Form-Functional Archi-Furniture collection.

To learn more about the Form-Functional Archi-Furniture collection, visit

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