Posted on Apr 8, 2014

Art Unveiled: Nils Clauss and Adam Hobbs chronicle Kwangho Lee’s Craft in a Cinematic Seoul Odyssey

Delve into the captivating realm of Seoul-based cinematographer, director, and filmmaker Nils Clauss’s latest documentary. This film showcases the extraordinary work of Korean furniture artist Kwangho Lee, recipient of the YÉOL Young Craftsman Award 2013. A collaborative effort between Clauss and Adam Hobbs, this cinematic experience takes you on a unique journey. It provides a glimpse into the artistry of a young boy discovering the world of art and design.

Unveiling Kwangho Lee’s Craft

The documentary, accompanied by the evocative composition “Snow Filled Summer” by offthesky, captures the essence of Kwangho Lee’s metal craftsmanship. Lee’s bronze chairs and stools, inspired by Korean old armor, come to life amid the backdrop of Seoul’s abandoned houses. Clauss, in his role as a photographer, draws inspiration from his 2009 photo series on abandoned spaces in Seoul. This creates a visual narrative that transcends traditional artist documentaries.

Supporting Traditional Craftsmanship with YÉOL

YÉOL, a Korean Heritage Preservation Society, is committed to preserving and promoting traditional crafts. Through initiatives like the YÉOL Artisan of the Year and YÉOL Young Craftsman of the Year projects, the organization aims to support and recognize the cultural value of craftsmanship. Established in 2013, the “YÉOL Young Craftsman of the Year” project aimed to encourage young talents like Kwangho Lee to bring fresh perspectives to traditional craftsmanship.

In-Depth Exploration with DIRECTORS NOTES

In a feature on DIRECTORS NOTES, Kwangho Lee engages in a thought-provoking discussion about the artistic innocence portrayed in the documentary “Translating Furniture.” This collaboration between Clauss and Hobbs goes beyond a typical artist documentary. It immerses the audience in a poetic journey, taking furniture art out of its conventional context.

Scouting Seoul’s Abandoned Spaces

The choice of locations plays a pivotal role in the documentary’s visual impact. Clauss and Hobbs, both cinematographers by trade, strategically selected an abandoned house in the North-Western part of Seoul. Despite the controversial history of the location, which was known as the home of a notorious serial killer, the filmmakers determinedly captured the unique ambiance. The documentary unfolds with a child actor, Yoonbin. He explores Kwangho Lee’s furniture amid the debris of this historic yet eerie backdrop.

Cinematography in Focus

The entire film was shot on the Sony F3. The filmmakers recorded to a Sound Devices PIX240 external recorder in ProRes HQ 444 for optimal image quality. Clauss emphasizes the importance of preserving highlight details and capturing the dynamic range, showcasing both the interior and exterior of the abandoned space. The natural lighting provided by the sun adds warmth and texture to the film’s visuals.


Embark on a visual odyssey with Nils Clauss’s documentary, a testament to the craftsmanship of Kwangho Lee and the dedication of YÉOL in supporting traditional arts. This exploration of Seoul’s abandoned spaces transcends conventional narratives, offering a profound and immersive experience into the world of art and design.