Technology is developing faster than ever before. It’s fascinating, frightening, and inspiring at the same time. Will robots be taking over all of our work within the next ten years? Or will developments in digital fabrication ensure that craftsmanship and the love of the way things are made will once again be central to society? In any case, we’re on the eve of great changes. This fascination for technological developments and all the possibilities that go with it are at the heart of our Lab.
– Joris Laarman
In 2004, Joris Laarman together with his partner Anita Star founded Joris Laarman Lab in Amsterdam. The lab collaborates with craftsmen, scientists, and engineers and the possibilities of emerging technologies as CNC systems, 3D printing, robotics, or simulation software. In 2013, the Lab collaborated with Greenpeace installing a time capsule at the bottom of the arctic sea for the Save the Arctic campaign.
Arm Chair (2007) and Bone Chair (2006)
The design of the Bone Chair actually began back in 1998, when Adam Opel GmbH developed new imaging and simulation software with the intention to create a more efficient engine mount. The purpose of the engine mount design software was to fix specific elements in place while providing optimum strength, using a minimum of materials. This is done by creating a virtual three-dimensional model and simulating the application of stress to specific points on the design. For the aluminum Bone Chair, the computer-generated result had to be refined for the specifications of aluminum.
The Armchair is part of the permanent collection of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Considering the work it took to create the mold for the Bone Chaise, Joris Laarman thought it’d be interesting to use 3D printing for the production of complex molds. This would give them the formal freedom of 3D printing, but they could still use high-quality materials. With regard to the design of the White Armchair, experiments with casting resins gave Joris Laarman‘s team the idea to grind down old bone-china coffee cups and subsequently mix them with casting resin.
Bits & Parts (2014)
Bits & Parts aims to utilize small 3D printers and CNC milling machines to fabricate full-size affordable furniture available to all.
These can be assembled into a piece of furniture like a three-dimensional puzzle. We started out with 202 parts. After this, we developed a version consisting of 85 parts that can be assembled into a Puzzle Chair in about two weeks, at a reasonable cost. Recently we developed an easier to assemble kids version of the maker chairs, which will be the first chair available through the network of 3DHubs.com.
The Leaf Table combines the craftsmanship of a blacksmith with high-tech digital manufacturing processes. Tough but elegantly formed steel legs become more and more re ned as a tree trunk grows into the tiny veins of a leaf. The metal frame of the table is generated by algorithms in several steps. The legs were generated by introducing a rotational force to the topology, optimizing stability. The structure then branches out into a round at surface subdivided according to a Voronoi diagram; a pattern found everywhere in nature. A homage to nature by Joris Laarman.
Forest Table (2011)
In 2011 they were asked to develop an installation of tables for renowned Korean art gallery Kukje. Based on the Leaf Table concept, Joris Laarmandeveloped the Forest Tables, a series of tables that fit together like tree canopies in a forest and can be assembled in various compositions. Its UV resistant resin is cast in between the refined metal framework that binds the structure. Both the resin and the metal benefit from each other for strength. This is, of course, a risky process by Joris Laarman, since it can only be done once.
Bridge Table (2010)
The Bridge table is part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
The Bridge Table is one of the engineering highlights of the lab, but also had the toughest hurdles to overcome. After the design for a large sculptural aluminum table was done, I became fascinated by a technique called High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) spray coating. Using this technology we could apply ultra-tough coatings of materials like tungsten carbide to softer lightweight structural materials like aluminum. A polished aluminum surface would have been ruined the first time it was used, but this coating would last forever. The only problem was: nobody had ever done a large mirror-polished flat surface before, especially not in the dimensions of our table. So we had to figure out how to do it ourselves.
– Joris Laarman
Adaptation Chair (2014)
The chair was composed of vertical long cells that started at the bottom like legs and transformed their geometry to serve the needs of different areas in the chair. The legs branch out into smaller legs and these branch out into legs that hold the support structure and on top of the support structure is the seat structure.
What do you think about this futuristic furniture by Joris Laarman?