Joris Laarman Lab – Design in the Digital Age, at the High Museum (Photo Challenge: Tour Guide)

Come see the future: Joris Laarman Lab – Design in the Digital Age encompasses a search for beauty as well as functionality, art in addition to technology, and includes maker-chairs, a bio-luminescent lamp, and yes, an exhibit on start-up company MX3D’s 3D-printing project to build a pedestrian bridge across an Amsterdam canal.

These elegant chairs were cast in 3D printed molds. They were designed using computer software based on the work of German professor Dr. Claus Mattheck, utilizing growth patterns of bones and trees to provide minimal structure for maximum strength.

Bone Rocker - beige noir marble and synthetic resin - Joris Laarman Lab - High Museum Atlanta GA 2018

Bone Rocker, Beige Noir marble and synthetic resin, 2007.

Bone Chair - marble and resin - Joris Laarman Labs - High Museum exhibit 2018

Bone Armchair, Carrara marble and synthetic resin, 2007.

As beautiful as they are, I have to admit, the first thing I thought was “What about the dust?” The second thing I thought was “The spiders would love these.”  Apparently I am too plebeian to have lovely minimalist chairs. They are gorgeous museum pieces, and if found in a home, it would be the home of someone with maid service.

Then I wondered about comfort. When I was in my 30’s (like these designers) that didn’t worry me at all. I loved my Arts-and-Crafts oak furniture with square sides and hard seats, and scoffed at comments about discomfort because who cared? — it looked good. Now I put pillows on everything, even one of Sam’s Eames chairs, to his dismay.

This robotic arm is building three “Digital Matter” tables from metal cubes that are 3D versions of pixels, large, medium, and small. (they’re “voxels” — volumetric pixels)

Still from video - Joris Laarman Lab - assembling Digital Matter Tables - photo from High Museum exhibit, Atlanta GA

Joris Laarman Lab – robot assembling Digital Matter Tables – photo still taken from exhibition video – High Museum exhibit, Atlanta GA, 2018

The three “Digital Matter” tables were commissioned by the High in 2011 and are now in the permanent collection — if soaked in acetone, the pieces separate and can be used to build something new. “Wow,” I thought, “that would have solved so many of my downsizing issues.”  It’s been slow work to clear the hoard while honoring my quest to be environmentally correct, and get stuff reused or recycled instead of taken to a landfill. 

Three Digital Matter Tables - High Museum, Atlanta GA - Joris Laarman Labs

With three sizes of cubes, the tables have graduating resolution. 

Here’s a detail of the middle table —

Digital Matter Tables/detail - Joris Laarman Labs -High Museum Atlanta GA

The ornamentation is a tribute to “Super Mario”, but up top, there’s a tip of the hat to Pac-Man…

Digital Matter tables - pac man detail - Joris Laarman Lab - High Museum Atlanta GAAnd here I go with “Art Museum Eyes” again — leaving the exhibition I saw this view out the window —

Cousins Building - art museum eyes

There’s far more in this innovative (and fun) exhibition than I can communicate in one blog post, so if you’re near Atlanta, come and see it for yourself. If you can’t make it by closing on May 13, come anyway, the High’s permanent collection features more work from Joris Laarman Lab than any museum outside the Netherlands.

High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA, Feb 18-May 13, 2018.

I wonder how many reconstituted tables it would take to make a building? We may find out. There are projects afoot …


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

More on the exhibition


16 thoughts on “Joris Laarman Lab – Design in the Digital Age, at the High Museum (Photo Challenge: Tour Guide)

  1. Beautiful furniture. The pixel one harks back to 18th and 19th century design meets Lego. You’re right about the cleaning. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for cleaning the metal pixel one. Just as well it’s in a museum. The designers are certainly innovative and their work should have an influence on modern furniture design. What a great exhibition.

    • Some of Bone and Tree pieces are reminiscent of Art Nouveau, and it’s interesting that it was not the original intention, which was structure. There was a Tree table and bookcase that I didn’t get into my post. The canal bridge is Art Nouveau-ish too, but that is intentional; also some MCM-ish chairs. They have a nice sense of art history, as well as a sense of fun. I can never figure out how to comment on your blog, so will say here, and hope you see it: I was knocked out by the Picnic at Hanging Rock post – the video! And the mention of the movie that I hadn’t thought of in a while, but was a favorite at the time. I sent a link to your post to my sister-in-law who is a huge fan, and she loved seeing it too. Thanks!

      • Thank you. I’m glad you and you sister-in-law liked it. They showed the movie here on St Valentine’s day and it’s still hauntingly beautiful.

      • You are inspiring me to see it again. And now I’m a little surprised I haven’t seen an anniversary showing in cinemas here. They do that from time to time with past films. It’s wonderful to see them on the big screen where they belong – we went to see Casablanca in cinema not long ago.

  2. Lovely works of art. But agree with you it’s one thing for something to look nice, and comfort is another thing. I really dislike putting cushions on chairs. I just like them to be comfortable in the first place. That said, I do use a cushion to support my back on the desk chair at home.

    • Thanks Mabel, the world definitely needs more comfortable desk chairs. Now that’s something I haven’t seen in any design exhibits. (I’ve wondered about the “kneeling chairs” but they’re too expensive to get one without certainty. Seems like a good idea though)

      • When you buy a chair, it’s also not just about comfort. It’s also about making sure it is the appropriate height for your desk. And in the first place you have to make sure the height of the desk is right for you. Also maybe you need to think about getting a footrest if you are short person 😀

      • Yes, I still have a couple of short step-stools I used to use as foot rests at the office. There are so many things to consider in ergonomics for a desk environment that lately I just give up and sit on the sofa with my laptop, feet on a cushy footstool. Maybe someday we’ll get to the point of custom 3D printed chairs, wouldn’t it be cool to go in for a “fitting”?

      • It really does seem you can print anything 3D these days. But whether they are usable or not is another thing altogether. That said, they might make good props 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.