Joris Laarman’s design practice explores the aesthetic potential of technological progress. In 2004 Laarman, together with his partner and filmmaker Anita Star, founded Joris Laarman Lab in Amsterdam. The Lab collaborates with craftsmen, scientists and software engineers to explore the possibilities of emergent manufacturing technologies. Laarman’s design output is diverse, ranging from experimental furniture and production processes to site-specific and museum installations, architecture and film.
Laarman is interested in how technology can transform design, and uses emerging digital tools and machinery to develop futuristic objects and design processes. His work provides insight into the shifting nature of design and manufacturing, revealing that we are at the point of a dramatic transition from large-scale twentieth-century industrial manufacturing to a new twenty-first-century paradigm of small-scale and decentralised digital fabrication.
Laarman’s interest in using software to generate design now extends to defining an evolution in the way physical objects are designed, manufactured, distributed, protected and recycled as a consequence of digitalisation. He believes that the transition from industrial to digital production will continue to fundamentally change many aspects of our lives.
Representing Joris Laarman’s exploration of 3D-printed furniture, Microstructures, aluminium gradient chair, 2014, is printed in aluminium using a computer algorithm that modifies the material’s printed cellular structure, thickness, density and pattern according to the structural requirements of the chair. Similar to the cellular structure of bones and plants, at times when strength is required the cells that make up the chair tighten to become solid metal, and at other times open up to reduce the chair’s weight. Using geometry in this way allows Laarman to harness the technology of 3D printing to optimise the structures of objects according to their function.
Simone LeAmon, The Hugh Williamson Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, National Gallery of Victoria (in 2017)