The Organic Beauty of Joris Laarman

The world seems infinite once you realize a chair need not be a chair. It can be better, simpler, more elegant. It can even tell a story.

Dutch designer and artist Joris Laarman explores those possibilities among radiators, tables, bookcases, rock walls, and even bridges on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age. Sixty-five of Laarman’s objects are spread among the Beck Building’s downstairs galleries, 3-D printed into curvaceous reality as the product of algorithmically-optimized designs.

Consider his ornate Heatwave radiator, which sprawls across a gallery wall as a web of greyish curlicues. Radiators, he explained at the recent press preview, require a large exposed surface to warm efficiently, so he adopted the elaborate 18th-century rococo style for the vine-like tangle. He called it an “artistic looking object” that’s primarily concerned with functionality.