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Printing out the furniture of the future : Artist Joris Laarman creates cutting-edge designs with new tech

May 17,2018
Joris Laarman, 39, stands among his most recent artwork “Turing Tables” (2018) on the second floor of the Kukje Gallery in central Seoul. [KUKJE GALLERY]
In today’s digital era, creating artwork using technology is no longer groundbreaking. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find the perfect harmony between technical innovation and visionary aesthetic.

However, this doesn’t seem to be a problem for artist Joris Laarman, who experiments with 3-D printing to design and create furniture. The 3-D printing apparatus that Laarman uses was invented in his lab and combines robotic arm and welding technologies.

At “Joris Laarman Lab: Gradients,” the artist’s second solo exhibition at Kukje Gallery in central Seoul, Laarman presents works spanning four years of cutting-edge experimentation with 3-D printing at his Amsterdam-based studio.

The exhibit, which runs until June 17, consists of the works from the Lab’s recent collections, including “Microstructures” (2014-2015), “Dragon” (2014), “Maker” (2014) and “Gradient Screen” (2017).

“Microstructures Gradient Aluminum Chair” (2014) is one of the chairs in the “Microstructures” series, made from 2014-2015, based on 3-D gradient patterning. This chair is made of strong, lightweight aluminum. Each “Microstructure” chair varies in form, size and function. [KUKJE GALLERY]
Taking up two floors, the exhibition holds many of Laarman’s modern pieces of furniture. Most of his works are chairs, which are “really good communication tools…[that] tell the story of the time,” Laarman said at a press preview on May 10.

In the “Microstructures” series, which is based on 3-D gradient patterning, there are three chairs and a gradient lounge. Each chair is made up of cells that differ in form, size and function. The “Microstructures Gradient Lounge” (2015) is made up of copper- and nickel-plated 3-D printed polyamide.

The “Microstructures Gradient Soft Chair” (2014) is printed with thermoplastic polyurethane, which is a flexible 3-D printed material. The other piece, the “Microstructures Gradient Aluminum Chair” (2014) gives off a futuristic impression with its silver surface.

The “Dragon Bench” (2014) located in the middle of the first floor was made out of stainless steel. According to Laarman, “[Creating this piece] felt like finding a new continent when nothing was discovered.” By using a printed lines matrix, Laarman was able to create numerous curves on this bench, each differing in size. As seen in his other artworks, the spontaneity and unexpected forms are smoothly incorporated into the design.

Currently, these dragon benches are in museum collections all over the world, but still they serve as a conceptual framework for much larger architecture and infrastructure projects, such as the Lab’s first 3-D printed stainless bridge. Before working on the pedestrian bridge, which will be completed later this year, Laarman produced each piece in his lab. As an artist who enjoys pushing the boundaries of technology, he constantly finds new aesthetics that interest him, but this is a technical challenge for him as well.

“Dragon Bench” (2014) is made out of stainless steel. The bench is now in museum collections around the world, but it serves as a conceptual framework for more ambitious architecture projects, such as a 3-D printed stainless steel bridge. [KUKJE GALLERY]
Also located on the second floor is the debut of “Turing Tables” (2018), named after noted mathematician Alan Turing. To create this piece, Laarman used a reaction diffusion algorithm that creates patterns that are always different. He tried to harness this algorithm by changing it into a function, which was a series of tables in this case. The “Turing Tables,” which were produced by the Lab’s MX3-D printing robots, are a group of unique tables made of bronze and stainless steel.

Laarman emphasizes the importance of this new technology and stresses that “if this was possible, [then] we could make infinitely larger things.”

BY LEE JEONG-HYUN [lee.jeonghyun@joongang.co.kr]



This exhibition runs until June 17. Admission is free. Go to Anguk Station (exit 1) and walk 10 to 15 minutes up Samcheong-dong street. For more information, call (02) 735-8449 or visit www.kukjegallery.com


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