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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

© Joris Laarman
Dutch, born 1979
Bone Rocker
Black marble resin

30 x 32 x 40 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase with funds provided by the
Mary Kathryn Lynch Kurtz Charitable Lead Trust

Arts of Europe

Joris Laarman’s Bone series, consisting of an aluminum side chair, a porcelain and resin armchair, a resin chaise longue, and this marble resin rocker, is a direct result of his scientific and material research goals. Each chair is highly sculptural and elegant in its proportions. And while there is a consistency across the series in terms of technology and form, Laarman created each design out of different materials, thereby continuing to push the boundary of possibilities in form.

In 2004, Laarman saw a documentary on a software program that General Motors had adapted to create optimized car parts. The program simulated the manner in which human bones grew; in particular, the natural way that the human body produces more bone in areas where it is required for strength and less in areas where it is not. Laarman became fascinated by the way that industry had adapted this natural occurrence and sought to design a chair using the same principle. He contacted General Motors to seek permission to use the software, and the Bone chair was born.

Although the software precisely calculates the thickness of each branch and curve of his chair designs, Laarman actually directs the process. “I didn’t use it [the program] to create the world’s next perfect chair," he said, "but as a high-tech sculpting tool to create elegant shapes with a kind of legitimacy.”