Weonrhee’s Primitive Structures Resemble Functional Dolmen

07.06.23 | By
Weonrhee’s Primitive Structures Resemble Functional Dolmen

Designer Weonrhee, also known as Jongwon Lee, has released a new sustainable project with a focus on the material that’s based upon his own cultural and historical background and the material’s origin story. Primitive Structures, is a series of small tables and stools that resemble “dolmen,” or a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more upright megaliths supporting a large flat horizontal capstone. Over time, moss grows to cover these structures. One piece of research cites South Korea as having 70% of the world’s dolmen, and so it became the overall architectural motif used throughout by Weonrhee.

large stone in nature covered in light green moss

Sustainability was of particular importance to Weonrhee throughout the project. PSL is a down-cycled material, meaning it’s recycled in such a way that the resulting product is of a lower value than the original item. It’s part of a family of structural composite lumber (SCL) made using dried and graded wood veneers. Strands or flakes are layered upon one another before being bonded together with a moisture-resistant adhesive. The resulting material evokes a primitive feeling through its texture and pattern.

product design sketches

two differently sized three legged structures with light wood tops and green legs

three legged structure with light wood top and green leg

The engineered wood beams used to create Primitive Structures employ waste materials from plywood and LVL production, and commonly include Douglas-fir, pine, and western hemlock among others. PSL is also commonly used in architecture frames, carrying the architectural motif further throughout the project. By using PSL, Weonrhee in turn created a valuable object through what was initially considered garbage.

cross section of PSL material

three differently sized structures with light wood tops and green legs

PSL turned out to be perfect for creating the polygonal shapes that mimick dolmen. During the manufacturing process, the material develops divots in its surface, but the designer had a solution to achieve “visual completeness” and safety – by repeatedly placing fallen pieces of PSL back into these holes over and over again, until only a smooth surface remains.

polished striated green PSL material

The final step is adding color. “In terms of color, I was inspired by the moss on the surface of the dolmen. The moss on the surface of the stone was formed over a long period of time and had pearl and parakeet green colors, and this part also showed [as] primitive,” Weonrhee said.

two differently sized structures with light wood tops and green legs

closeup of side by side tables made from layered materials

To learn more about Primitive Structures, visit

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.