Joris Laarman: Bringing furniture and technology closer together

Joris Laarman shot to fame when he was all of 23. By the age of 25, he was running a successful design studio. By the time he reached his 30s, the Dutch designer was already a superstar in the design world. Joris is best known and respected for his futuristic vision and his experimental designs inspired by emerging technologies.

In his studio, the Joris Laarman Lab in Amsterdam, Netherlands, you will find modern technologies like robotics, 3D printing, and simulation software being used to create beautiful, elegant pieces of furniture that are a class apart.

According to Laarman, digital technology allows for more complicated shapes to be created. Comparing algorithms and robots to chisels and saws, Laarman says these digital technologies are just new tools for designers to play with.

Born in Borculo, Netherlands, on October 24th, 1979, to a police detective father and a mother who went on to become a trained nurse, Laarman had a typical middle class upbringing. He went to the Design Academy Eindhoven from where he graduated cum laude in 2003.

It was during his graduation show that Laarman caught the attention of the design community with his functional “Heatwave radiator” made of concrete and aluminum and fabricated into rococo swirls. While the radiator went on to win several design awards and accolades, Laarman suddenly found himself winning contracts with major design companies and being the subject of intense media coverage.

Soon after, Laarman found his studio, which coincided with the taking off of the Internet.

That’s when he first investigated the idea of using computer technology to create furniture. He started a collection of furniture (called Bone) created using digital technologies. A side chair was the first in the series, and Laarman went on to add armchairs, rocking chairs, a chaise lounge, a bookshelf, and a dining table to it.

His lab (described as “an experimental playground set up to study and shape the future”) continues to push the boundaries of digital technology to create furniture and works on diverse projects that include sculptural experimental furniture, museum installations, film, digital media, and workshops at universities around the world.

Laarman also collaborates with several international design companies like FLOS, Artecnica, Swarovski, Droog and more. One of his bestselling products for FLOS is the Nebula chandelier which is a masterpiece in modern functionality and aesthetics and was a major crowd puller at the Milan furniture fair in 2007.

FLOS Nebula chandelier by Joris Laarman

Such is the brilliance of this young designer that several museums, fairs, and galleries exhibit his works. His work has been added to the permanent collections of many renowned museums like the MOMA in New York, V&A in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris and most recently the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

In addition to that, Laarman has been a prolific contributor to the Domus Magazine and taught at various European universities like the Architectural Association in London, Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, and the Design Academy in Eindhoven.

Designers the world over have embraced new technology, but the passion that Laarman has for amalgamating his aesthetic capabilities and technical sensibilities is almost incredible. His works of art are magnificent, to say the least, and his futuristic approach towards design is set to create some more ripples in the years to come.

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