Touring exhibition: Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands: November 22, 2015 - April 10, 2016; Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Furniture generated by smart algorithms, a living lampshade made of genetically modified cells that contain the bioluminescent genes of fireflies, the first open-source 3D printable chair in the world, a robot arm that welds a metal bench in mid-air and a table assembled from 1,2 million voxels. These are but a few examples of the wonderful work of designer/inventor/artist Joris Laarman (Borculo, 1979). Laarman is one of the most prominent designers today. With engineers, programmers and craftsmen, he conducts cutting-edge experiments that combine art, science and technology, using manufacturing processes that are often as innovative as the end results.
Laarman works at the interface of design, art and science, always exploring new materials and innovative technologies. His remarkable work is often based on multiple experiments. Laarman has taken part in numerous exhibitions and many of his works are found in the prestigious collections of MoMA, New York, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Laarman graduated cum laude from the Design Academy in Eindhoven in 2003 with a project entitledReinventing Functionality. The baroque-looking radiator he designed for this made a stand against functionalist minimalism. The exuberant curls were used to create a large surface area: a functional consideration that enabled the radiator to better disperse heat into the air. His famous Bone Chair, a strikingly organically shaped chair, is a classic. The form of the chair stems from computer algorithms that simulate optimal bone growth: thicker where necessary and thinner where the frame has less of a load to bear, without loss of strength.
In 2004, Laarman and his partner Anita Star founded Joris Laarman Lab. In the lab, a multidisciplinary team explores the prospects of design by research, experimentation and groundbreaking technology. One example is the lab’s downloadable puzzle furniture, which consumers can 3D-print at home. Another is the advanced robotic 3D-printing technology MX3D, which is currently being used to print a fully functional metal bridge for one of Amsterdam’s canals.
Aesthetic, imagination, high tech and science come together in this first major solo survey exhibition that includes early, recent and new work.
The Groninger Museum has followed Laarman for years and has acquired many important works, such as the Bone Chaise, Bookshelf and the unique Digital Matter table series. On the occasion of this exhibition, Laarman will create a new sculpture using the printing technique deployed to make the Amsterdam bridge. This exhibition is in keeping with the Groninger Museum’s policy to focus of the interface between design and art. The exhibition showcases the manufacturing process as well as its technical background and includes numerous experimental objects.
The exhibition is organized by curator of contemporary art, design and fashion Sue-an van der Zijpp and chief curator Mark Wilson.
After Groningen, the exhibition will go on a tour that will include the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.