Previously On View: September 27, 2017 through January 15, 2018

See exhibitions currently on view.

About the exhibition

“…it not only represents the world of the future; it is announcing the brave new present.”—New York Times

The first U.S. major exhibition of the Dutch designer Joris Laarman and his multidisciplinary team, known for their pioneering and elegant applications of digital technologies.  Working at the intersection of design, art, and science, Joris Laarman Lab is abolishing traditional distinctions between the natural and machine made, the decorative and functional to produce design of flawless beauty and technical ingenuity.

The exhibition explores Laarman’s conceptual thinking, as well as his embrace of experimentation to fuel the creative process. Organized around each significant step forward in the Lab’s research and development, the exhibition presents the full range of Joris Laarman Lab’s empirical investigations of digital design; from the iconic Bone Chair generated from algorithms that mimic bone growth to a pedestrian bridge built in midair using advanced robotic 3D printing. Twenty-one process videos document the Lab’s collaborative environment and high-tech tools— providing fascinating demonstrations of digital technology in action, as well as the skilled craftsmanship that is equally important to each object’s evolution. Pushing design beyond its current dictates, the Lab’s scientific and technological breakthroughs are advancing how we will design, manufacture, and distribute the objects of tomorrow—and  point to a future where form and fabrication will surpass the limitations of industrial production.


A selection of objects featured in the exhibition.

Exhibition programming

Touch Tour
January 10, 2018
2:30 p.m.
Museum educators will engage participants in conversation and touch experiences of the exhibition. Learn more.

exhibition catalog

Cover of exhibition catalog for Joris Laarman Lab

An upfront and personal introduction to a vanguard of design innovation, with a back cover featuring a custom-created stereogram image of a Joris Laarman Lab design. Available from SHOP Cooper Hewitt.

Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age is organized by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands. It is curated by Mark Wilson, Chief Curator and Sue-an van der Zijpp, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design, at the Groninger Museum and Andrea Lipps, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt.

Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age is made possible by the generous support of Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee and the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. Support is also provided by the Ehrenkranz Fund, the Dutch Culture USA program of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, The Iwata Family Foundation,Tory Burch, Kim and Al Eiber, and the Creative Industries Fund NL.

Reinventing Functionality
A version of the Heatwave Radiator is included in the exhibition Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age, on view at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum through January 15, 2018. Radiators have long been used to exchange heat, transfering thermal energy from one medium to another for the purpose of space heating. Their primary...
Free Universal Construction Kit: Interoperability in Children’s Toys
Can a children’s toy function as a subversive agent of anti-capitalism? Possibly. The Free Universal Construction Kit is a set of design plans for nearly 80 two-way adapters capable of joining together individual parts from ten popular brands of construction toys, allowing for interoperability between otherwise incompatible construction toy parts.[1] Available for download at no...
Up Close With the Pixel Chair
This chair is included in the exhibition Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age, on view at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum through January 15, 2018. This Pixel chair (prototype) is part of a series of twelve unique Makerchairs designed by Joris Laarman and fabricated by Joris Laarman Lab. To make the bending grid...
Preview the future!
Download the MX3D app to enjoy an augmented reality experience of Joris Laarman Lab's MX3D bridge.
Image of Joris Laarman and Design Legends title screen
Design Legends | Joris Laarman
Design Legends documents the experiences and perspectives of distinguished designers, architects, design writers, and design critics.
Branching Out
For more than a decade, Dutch designer Joris Laarman and his team at Joris Laarman Lab have been looking to nature for information and inspiration. As he writes in the newly published book Joris Laarman Lab, “our digital age makes it possible to not just use nature as a stylistic reference, but to actually use the...
Inside the studio of Joris Laarman Lab
Inside Joris Laarman Lab
See how Joris Laarman Lab is using innovative technologies in the design fabrication process.