Joris Laarman | icon 016 | October 2004

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photo: Mark Guthrie

Alex Wiltshire

Joris Laarman only graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven last year but is already being touted as one of the Netherlands’ most promising young designers. Just 24, he is working with Droog to get his graduation project, a baroque concrete radiator called Reinventing Functionality, into production by the end of 2004.

“The last year has been amazing, really amazing. Especially with this radiator thing. It’s booming. I’ve had so much publicity. It was like a snowball forming, something you can’t do anything about. You just make your stuff and then – you know?

But I have to take my time. I’m still developing. I’m not a Philippe Starck or anything and I don’t want to be, but while the pressure is difficult, it’s good because I’m getting a lot of assignments from all over the world.

The whole year I’ve been mostly busy with organising things with the radiator. It isn’t that difficult to produce, it’s more a problem of logistics, a problem of who does what, what kind of company, what kind of legal arrangements. That’s new to me and it’s the difficult part.

I contributed to the Lekker Decadent show [at Princessehof Leeuwarden until October 24] with a climbing wall called Ivy and porcelain called Painfully Beautiful. I made the radiator, Ivy, the vases and the porcelain all at the same time before graduation. It was an intense period – I’ve never worked harder in my life.

I want to have a certain amount of reality in my design so things have a meaning. Styling is only one layer. But I think reasoning can also have poetry in it. A certain amount of poetry and a certain amount of reasoning, and also a bit of kicking the arse of the establishment – that’s what I want to achieve. It’s all about fitting it all together. The radiator was to make my point that modernism was wrong and that post-modernism is also wrong and that everybody is wrong. To combine all sorts of things and make a good thing, you know? It works. It’s not a cheap joke. So I hope to do that – to make something that really works.”

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