Property from an Important International Collection
number four from an edition of twelve
From the Catalogue
“If evolution had wanted to create a chair,” Joris Laarman remarks as he gestures to his present “Bone” Armchair model, “then it would look something like that.” This chair’s blend of sculptural beauty and structural strength emerges from a natural selection of sorts. For this design, Laarman looked to an algorithm that mimics the growth structures of trees and bones, simulating how trees naturally add mass to areas that need more physical support, while bones naturally reduce mass from areas that do not require as much strength. Applying the algorithm to furniture design, Laarman explains, “I use the algorithm as a sculptural tool the way a sculptor would use a hammer and a chisel.” After reducing the armchair to its essential form—that which maintains the work’s overall structural integrity and nothing else—Laarman fortifies the design with his own artistry, making tweaks and adjustments to enhance the chair’s aesthetics.
The “Bone” Armchair distinguishes itself from, yet also echoes, other works in the “Bone Furniture” series. In particular, the white Carrera marble and resin in the present lot provide a stronger connotation to human bone structures compared to other pieces in this collection, such as the sublime aluminum “Bone” Chair that began the series and the “Bone” Rocker, whose jet black marble lends it an elegantly sleek look. Further, the armchair marks the first “Bone” model that used 3D printing for its casts, which enabled Laarman to daringly experiment with more visually arresting designs. Still, all of the “Bone” pieces are bound together by their likeness to natural forms. Laarman intended for the series to purvey a sense of what he calls “high-tech Art Nouveau,” a perceptive twist that reconciles the machine efficiency that today’s technology enables with the languid, plant-like forms that were iconic during the early 20th century.
Laarman’s features in prominent exhibitions, culminating in a mid-career retrospective currently on view at New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age, September 27, 2017–January 15, 2018), have solidified the magnitude of the Dutch designer’s visionary creations. That digital engineering serves as the genesis of these beautifully functional objects elevates Laarman’s works beyond mere utilitarian products to resplendent models that toe the lines between art, design, and invention. Laarman and his partner, Anita Star, founded the Joris Laarman Lab in 2004, triumphing and harnessing the power of innovative technologies, such as the 3D printing and simulation software that brought the “Bone Furniture” series to life. As conceptually ambitious as it is mechanically attainable, the Lab’s goal is to finesse these technological advances with an artistic vision that remains irreplaceable by machines. At its core, the Laarman Lab promotes design that is quintessentially human, yet necessarily uses technology to come to life. To these ends, Laarman’s construction of the present “Bone” Armchair achieves this goal with the self-possessed elegance present throughout his entire body of work.
—Courtesy of Sotheby's
Signature: signed Joris Laarman and numbered 4/12
Manufacturer: produced by Joris Laarman Lab, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Anita Star, ed., Joris Laarman Lab, exh. cat., Groninger Museum, Groningen, 2015, pp. 74-75 and 94-101
Anita Star, ed., Joris Laarman Lab, exh. cat., Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, 2017, pp. 64-65, 82-89 and 313
Friedman Benda, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2008
About Joris Laarman
Dutch, b. 1979, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands