Joris Laarman Lab / Design in the Digital Age

When people see a robot they see a solution to a problem or even the problem itself. I see an instrument to create smart beauty.” -Joris Laarman

Furniture generated by algorithms, a fully functional 3-D printed steel bridge and chairs that can be downloaded from the Internet. These are but a few examples of the ingenious oeuvre of designer/inventor/artist Joris Laarman. From Sept. 27 through Jan. 14, 2018, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will present the exhibition Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age. Organized by the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands, the acclaimed exhibition will make its U.S. debut at Cooper Hewitt and travel to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Design in the Digital Age shows work from Joris Laarman Lab from 2004 onwards, including achievements like the iconic Bone furniture, Maker chairs,  Dragon bench and the MX3D bridge project. New to the exhibition is his latest work: Gradient screen, an object generated with the same algorithm and scale as the bridge which explores the current boundaries of robotic digital fabrication. Joris Laarman: “ I think we are just beginning to understand the true potential of digital making. It is really exciting to work in a time when such powerful technologies are now within reach and we get to explore the form-language it spawns as a glimpse into the future.

At the crossroads of science and innovation, Joris Laarman moves effortlessly between craft and technology, past and future to bring into existence singular originals. As a backdrop, the exhibition includes a visual of the timeline Joris Laarman uses to track progress in time and provide context in multiple layers – from science fiction to economic, technological and countless other developments – at any given time. “My aim is to make the timeline available online for people to personalize; this could range from life expectancy to global warming to personal happiness. Zooming in and out in time gives me a sense of clarity and humbling relativity.

“This is really just the beginning. That phrase often went through my mind as I was working on this exhibition and accompanied book. Time and again I imagine myself 50 years from now and wonder what my future self would have wanted me to make. The advice from this future self will be of major importance to the further evolution of our work. I have a boundless curiosity and with the team of craftsmen and whiz kids in the lab we have created the perfect environment to endlessly explore new kinds of work in diverse mediums. I can’t wait to get started.

The updated book of Joris Laarman Lab is published by August Editions and can be ordered here.