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July 9, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Machines learning to sit pretty

Do they have a union? The first generation machines.

What happens when – after long, tedious, repetitive hours without one injury or complaint – a factory robot is pink slipped.

Any metal health coverage unbolted from them. Discussions of separation pay probably nonexistent.

Even if their connections are good, getting added to another line is slim and none.

In a world far too quick to remove and replace with newer updated models, what happens to the old ones?

It’s easy to project human qualities and personalities onto machines – like we do with dogs.

I keep having the sad images of some little robot desperately dodging among cars waiting at the light – a tiny rusting little appendage reaching with practiced politeness learned from a long gone job – hoping for some change or quick charge from the auto cell phone charger.

You know you won’t be able to meet those little sensors eye to eye. Just too sad.

Where’s the robot homeless shelter and the reprogramming programs?

Someone has to do something.

Chair. Museum of Fine Arts exhibit of Joris Laarman Lab (Image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

Have a seat and think about it. If graceful products produce thought of grace…(Houston Museum of Fine Arts Joris Laarman Lab exhibit.Image ©)

Someone is on it: Joris Laarman and his design lab are exploring the potential of recycling discarded car assembly line robots to  make affordable furniture.

Sounds good for the environment, too, right?

Meanwhile, while working out the logistic and rewiring of that, they are creating beautiful household items as humans shift gears towards a new way of working with machines. (Which aren’t cheap, yet, but think of the Tesla concept of attracting the elites who can afford to pay more in order to finance work towards more affordable models…)

While working out the logistics of that, this group is chairing the work involving 3-D printing. Their machines creating with unexpected materials: wood, wool, cotton, marble, resin, aluminum…

Even more unexpected it that many of the chairs’ programs are open source. An idea perfectly seated in DIY.

See how they sit with you. As Fine Art and, maybe, a fine line in the future.

Row of chairs by Joris Laarman Lab (From Design in the digital Age exhibit at MFAH. Image copyrighted, No permissions granted, All rights reserved)

Row of chairs by Joris Laarman Lab. The stripes of the front one printed using walnut wood. Design in the Digital Age/MFAH.(©image)

Puzzle chair printed out of wood! (MFAH Joris Laarman Lab exhibit. Image: all rights reserved. copyrighted, no permissions granted)

It’s a puzzle how they do it: printed completely out of two types of wood.(© Image)

Joris Laarman Lab 3-D printed chairs in front of their open source design panels printed in 2-D. From MFAH exhibit. Image: copyrighted, no permissions granted, ALL rights reserved)

A seat above normal home theatre seating: 3-D printed chairs in front of their open source 2-D design panels.(©Image)

White chair from Bone series. Joris Laarman Lab/MFAH/ Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

White marble 3-D printed chair from Joris Laarman’s organic inspired “Bone Furniture”.(© Image)

Metal Chair 3-D printed chair by Joris Laarman Lab with printed cotton and wool seat upholstery. (MFAH. Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Whimsical and sculptural. Printed metal chaise lounge with 3-D printed cotton and wool seat upholstery.(© Image)

Back of Chaise lounge chair by Joris Laarman Lab/MFAH. (Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

It would fit perfectly in your place, right? Back of Joris Laarman chaise lounge chair.(© Image)

Close up of 3-D printed chaise lounge by Joris Laarman Lab. MFAH/Image: no permissions granted, all rights reserved, copyrighted)

Time for your close up. Note the hexagonal shapes vary in size by location. What intriguing details.(©Image)

Chair's feet. Joris Laarman Lab/MFAH ( Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permission granted)

I love the confident little legs and feet.(© Image)

Soft chair printed by Joris Laarman Lab (MFAH exhibit/ Image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Prefer something a little on the soft side? Soft Gradient Chair. Read more about it below(© Image)

Chair description and production info for 3-D chairs by Joris Laarman Lab/ MFAH exhibit)

Description and production info of 3 chairs by Joris Laarman Lab/ MFAH exhibit

Adaptation Chair by Joris Laarman Lab (MFAH/ image copyrighted, no permissions. all rights reserved)

The organic Adaptation Chair looks fit for a tree nymph.(© Image)

Aluminum Gradient Chair by Joris Laaerman Lab (MFAH exhibit / image: copyrighted, no permissions granted, all rights reserved)

Aluminum Gradient Chair – worthy of pause. There’s something Eiffel Tower about it. (Wait until you see what’s Laarman’s booked in the next room! (© image)

Pretty sittin’ gracefully made by machine

The future could be beautifully done by both humans and robots.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Related post about 3-D printing with a video of the  Joris Laarman and his design studio at work: “Machining devices”

(I really like this one: walnut ribbons spun by a printer, swirled, and scrolled into smooth practical shape. Really cool.)

Walnut ribbon chair by Joris Laarman Lab ( Image, copyrighted, all righted reserved, no permissions granted)

Wonder if it’s dog proof.(© Image)


  1. Kate Crimmins / Jul 9 2018 6:53 am

    The furniture is just a little weird but you did have me feeling story for those old production pieces. Woof!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 9 2018 9:09 am

      Have to admit I wasn’t too excited to head to this exhibit, but the items are so beautiful – stunning show.
      Must have watch WallE movie too many times as now I do see personality in some of the little computers and robots. This MIT video of their Cheetah robots makes you wonder and sympathize with them a bit. (Paw waves!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carrie Rubin / Jul 9 2018 7:46 am

    This is a great idea. Any time we can recycle material to be used again is always a plus. And I think some of these chairs are pretty cool. Hopefully they’re comfortable too!


  3. ShimonZ / Jul 9 2018 10:29 am

    It’s a matter of taste I suppose. The furniture looks modern… I’m waiting to see what post modern furniture looks like… until then, I might stick with 19th century basic.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 9 2018 12:55 pm

      Remember “Modern Art”? Long time ago…seems like it should be renamed?
      How classic and timeless are the Shaker style or the Stickley furniture designs. One of my favorite tables is a small walnut one that traveled by river boat then by wagon to the frontier (put together by hand cut pegs instead of nails and glue) – Beautiful wood grain with the simple design and form so “clean”, it looks very modern.
      The exhibit chairs are interesting to me because they are 3-D printed not carved or hand sculpted, yet are sleek, smooth, and organic in design mimicking nature. And an assortment of material/natural materials are not abled to be used by a printer. And to make a puzzle chair like that one out of wood – intriguing. A step in the evolutionary use of machines for normal goods
      I do wonder if those curved chairs get bouncy when you sit in them. Kids would love that.
      Thanks for chairing a discussion!


  4. Beth / Jul 9 2018 3:26 pm

    How cool!!! Those chairs are amazing, and I had no idea the variety of materials they could use in 3D printing. I knew if I just believed Wall-E would find his place in this world (and a hobby out side of hanging out with EVE)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Coastal Crone / Jul 9 2018 4:27 pm

    Yes, I could find a place for that chaise lounge! Very interesting! Who knew?


  6. LordBeariOfBow / Jul 9 2018 6:28 pm

    Those chairs make nice ornaments but I doubt they’d be comfortable to sit in for long stretches, and now I’m going to worry all week about poor old R2-D2 and -3PO…….thanks you very much 😦



  7. Ally Bean / Jul 10 2018 5:38 am

    When I think of a 3-D printer I immediately flash to an episode of The Big Bang Theory in which Howard and Raj use one to create dolls of themselves. Because they could, of course. Chairs seem like a better use of a 3-D printer to me, a pragmatic soul.


  8. Robpixaday Designs / Jul 20 2018 1:36 pm

    So graceful – lovely pieces. Good to know that people are thinking ahead.
    Have to say that 3-D printers still make me twitch, not bec they’re so powerful, etc., but bec I get lost in my head trying to imagine how to feed the supply of materials into them.
    Poor little robots. They have no idea what’s in store for them. Or maybe they do?



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