Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age
Founded in 2004 by Dutch designer Joris Laarman and filmmaker Anita Star, Joris Laarman Lab is known for its pioneering work that fuses digital technologies with design, science, and craftsmanship. The Amsterdam-based Lab consists of designers, engineers, programmers, and makers. Among its astonishing array of work are furniture forms created with software that mimics bone growth, robotically assembled tables made from voxels (3D pixels), and a 3D-printable chair available for free download. The team's inventive furniture and cutting-edge experiments are as innovative as the manufacturing processes used to create them.
Recent major projects include the development of MX3D printing, a first-of-its kind digital fabrication process in which a robot prints metal structures in mid-air. The revolutionary process enables aesthetic freedom—structures are self-supporting, pulled and twisted into undulating shapes that would otherwise never be possible. The MX3D Bridge, a fully functional footbridge, will be 3D-printed using the technology and installed over a canal in Amsterdam in 2018.
Joris Laarman Lab's imaginative approach focuses on research and experimentation, testing new technologies and production methods that point to a future where from and fabrication surpass the limitations of industrial production. At the same time, Laarman and his team often reference historical periods in their body of work, such as the Baroque (which began in the 1600s) and Art Nouveau (popular between 1890–1910). Their use of curvilinear, attenuated forms signify not just an interest in ornament but also a connection to the past. The Lab's work straddles tradition and innovation, high technology and craftsmanship, and aesthetics and function, concerns that remain at the forefront of design today.