Minimalist yet experimental, humorous yet chic, and exceptionally visionary, Joris Laarman’s technology-driven furniture reimagines Dutch interior design. From a “living” lampshade made of genetically modified cells to Nintendo Rococo-style tables composed of metal pixels, the Joris Laarman Lab elevates engineering into an art form. Curated by the Groningen Museum in the Netherlands, the Design in the Digital Age exhibition opens at the High Museum of Art this Sunday and runs through May 13.
The lab partners with engineers, scientists, and programmers to focus on both the process and the final product of art—shown throughout the exhibition with interactive videos, prints, and prototypes. Unlike other modernists, Laarman works between the space of the industrial and digital revolution, shifting the idea from mass production to mass personalization. His art embraces new ideas such as 3D printing, algorithm-derived designs, and new eco-friendly materials with influence from historical styles and developing his own.
Sustainability guides his designs. For example, using 3D printing, DIY Makerchairs can be printed and assembled at home. With a range of personalization and colors options, anyone can print the open-source puzzle pieces and built original furniture. When a new inspiration strikes, the plastic polymer can be blended and melted for reuse.
Focusing on the beauty in everyday object, Joris Laarman transforms a functional wall radiator into a curvaceous Baroque wall piece, marrying the ideas of form and function.
You’ll also see where art nouveau meets nature and the future—the Laarman’s iconic Bone Chair uses the similar growth patterns of trees and bones to carve out the areas of support from a block of molten metal. The software, developed by Laarman, mimics nature’s way shifting support of bones.
A highlight of the series, the Nintendo Rococo-style chairs bring digital to reality. Named for its highly ornamental Rococo-inspired design, the tables are built of “voxels” or real-life 3D metal pixels to create structure with forms from Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers adorning the edges.
Catch Laarman in conversation tonight at 6 p.m. at Switch Modern as part of the High Museum’s Spotlight on Design series; the shop will also display a special exhibition of Dutch lighting by lines like Flos and Moooi. Tomorrow, Laarman will chat with curator Sarah Schleuning at the High Museum of Art at 4:30.