Emerging South Korean designer Jeonghwa Seo’s deceptively simple furniture reflects both the influence of the Eastern culture in which he was raised and the cues he picked up from his instructors and peers at the Design Academy Eindhoven, where he received a master’s degree in 2010. “My style is focused on the basic principles of design,” he says, “such as form, structure, and materiality.” For his graduation project, he teamed with Hanna Chung to produce the Ripple Effect tea table, which has a thin layer of water on its earthenware top. Every time a cup or saucer is moved, it creates surface ripples—a reminder that small gestures can have outsize influence on the world. His Obstruction line of brass tableware, including a two-spouted pitcher, was deliberately conceived to be difficult to use—or, as he says, “to deliver the stories of obstructions of our lives on the table.”