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Joris Laarman - Tables and Furniture
Joris Laarman
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Joris Laarman

Amsterdam, Netherlands

"We live in a fascinating time. An ordinary person has access to more information today than any world leader or noble prize winner ever had in the past. We are children of a time of transition: one foot in the industrial era and the other in the digital era and who knows, we may even get to experience the biotech era in which we might all stay young forever. 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.

In our digital era, an unprecedented amount of visual material is being produced. So much so that, in my opinion, its value is subject to inflation. That’s why we find it important that the ideas of the Lab are actually tested and developed physically in high-quality materials whenever possible. Actually making physical objects requires skill, you cannot simply think them up in your mind, even using the most advanced computers. The physical world is unruly and beautiful for the unpredictabilities and limitations that make it necessary to experiment in order to gain control over something over time. But rather than something nostalgic, craftsmanship ought to be seen as something that is always evolving and that, with the help of high-tech tools, should be central to society.

Endlessly trying, refining, improving until slowly, something begins to emerge that is so ingenious that it looks like magic if you don’t know what went on before: that’s what evolution does. In our work, we try to capture some of that magic. Using emerging technology to work on objects and a visual language of the future, we make small leaps in that evolutionary process. This sometimes results in science fiction-like work that stimulates the imagination, and sometimes in very practical suggestions that can be applied immediately. Experienced welding experts watched the development of our 3D metal printer in disbelief. What we did wasn’t supposed to be possible. All the settings were wrong for a proper welding process, but we needed those wrong settings to 3D print with a welding machine on a robot. A great example of how we like things to be."