A 98-foot ash tree? Turn it into some chairs. Molten pewter? Chairs. A 600-pound chunk of steel or raw marble? Heavy chairs. Polystyrene foam? Sit on it. With the seat as a common denominator, British designer Max Lamb has been experimenting with form, materials, and techniques since he graduated London’s Royal College of Art, in 2006. The Art Institute of Chicago will host Lamb’s first-ever museum show opening March 22, called “Max Lamb: Exercises in Seating.” (It’s a title he’s familiar with: it first appeared as the name of his degree show, and a handful of other exhibitions since.) Zoë Ryan curated the AIC’s edit of his work, which will include 19 pieces and one new project, “Forge.” For this chair, Lamb hammered out billets of raw steel at a mill just north of Chicago. “I wanted to have a relationship with Chicago [that was] deeper and greater than just having a show there,” the 37-year-old says from his studio in London. “I didn’t want to just show up with twenty chairs saying, ‘Hey, here’s my work!’” Lamb has gained recognition and favor in the international design community for his always-experimental approach and for not taking himself too seriously. “The work is really about the exercise: what’s involved in getting to that end result—whatever that end result is,” he says. “It’s the process that’s most important.”
Max Lamb’s Chairs Take a Seat at the Art Institute of Chicago
The designer’s first-ever museum show opens next month and will feature one never-before-seen project.BY LILY WAN February 16, 2018
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