We are going to talk real cutting edge design today so get ready. If you are an extreme traditionalist this all might seem a bit too way out there, but new technologies…think 3D Printing, advanced materials, etc….have opened up the door for highly creative designers to invent new methods for making furniture.
Let me introduce you to Joris Laarman, an internationally acclaimed young man from the Netherlands, who designs and creates furnishings adopting ultra current technologies. His methods are long and convoluted and it is of the utmost importance to him not to sacrifice excellent craftsmanship in the process. This all means that the end product represents something extremely beautiful and exceptional.
I was introduced to Laarman through MAD (see post,) where he has been featured in several exhibitions. According to the powers that be over at the museum, i.e., the curators, Laarman is probably the most exciting furniture designer in Europe today. He is associated with a group of designers known as “designer-makers” who’s emphasis is on how things are made. They are utilizing digital design and manufacturing to produce their products instead of the usual conventional methods of manufacturing.
Laarman has created a series…12 in all… of Maker Chairs, all designed on the computer and manufactured by computer-assisted milling machines. The materials range from resin, plastic, metal and wood. The chairs need to be a assembled, much like a puzzle, in order to finally use them as they are intended. This allows for some individual interpretation of the “maker,” which Laarman and his piers encourage as part of the design process.
One of his chairs, the Maker Chair (Puzzle) Prototype will eventually be available on the internet for people to download as a kit and then print the small pieces in ABS plastic using 3D printers at home. Hence, the meaning of the word Maker, or as Laarman interprets it, owner or user. Sounds a little like sci-fi for the furniture industry to me! However, you should be aware that 3D printers exist today and some day you may even be the proud owner of one in your very own home!
Other works by Laarman are equally as exciting and outstanding. In 2004 he founded Joris Laarman Lab with his partner Anita Star. The lab is centered on developing new “things” that fall into the categories of art, furnishings, film and museum installations by joining forces with other craftsman, engineers and scientists and utilizing the latest in technology.
His Heatwave radiator has already been produced commercially and is another fabulous example of how Laarman can take the humdrum objects of life and turn them into something extraordinary. This radiator is truly beautiful and functions like a piece of sculpture on the wall, which I think is simply fabulous.
Laarman’s work is part of the permanent collection of many museums around the world, including MoMA, V&A, MAD and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. His work was also recently part of an exhibition called “Joris Laarman Lab: Bits and Crafts” here in New York City at Friedman Benda (see post.)
I want to show you a very informative video that will give you some more insight into Laarman’s genius, which encompasses artistic, scientific, mechanical and engineering aspects. His “Lab” is truly a laboratory in all senses of the word. No hammers and nails here!
Laarman’s approach toward furniture and product design certainly gives me a lot to think about, especially on it’s eventual impact in the world of interior design. I guess I best get ready to move on into the future, because the future is definitely right around the corner!
Ciao, ciao ’til next time!