Important Design

Important Design

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 325. JORIS LAARMAN | "BONE" CHAIR.

Property from a Private American Collection


Auction Closed

December 12, 09:10 PM GMT


500,000 - 700,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from a Private American Collection



circa 2007

number 6 from an edition of 12

produced by Joris Laarman Lab, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


impressed Joris Laarman and numbered 6/12

30 x 17¼ x 30⅜ in. (76.2 x 43.8 x 77.2 cm)

Friedman Benda, New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2010

Adam Lindemann, Collecting Design, Cologne, 2010, p. 49

Ronald T. Labaco, Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital, London, 2013, pp. 31-35 (for the armchair from the “Bones” series)

Anita Star, ed., Joris Laarman Lab, exh. cat., Groninger Museum, Groningen, 2015, pp. 74-75 and 94-101

Anita Star, ed., Joris Laarman Lab, exh. cat., Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, 2017, pp. 6-7, 65, 70-73 and 313

Sotheby's would like to thank Anita Star for her assistance with the cataloguing of this lot. 

The work of Joris Laarman meets at the intersection of technology and craftsmanship. Each work is created through a process of relentless experimentation and refinement, seeking new technologies and combining them with the artistry of the human hand. The “Bone” chair is perhaps the most widely recognizable model from the eponymous series, which also includes designs for an armchair, a chaise, a rocking chair, a bridge table and a bookshelf. In creating each model, Laarman implements early topology optimization algorithms, a technology relying on a software originally intended for the production of automotive chassis components and mimics organic and biological growth. Applied to the design of furniture, the software was refined and adapted to Laarman’s chosen mediums like aluminum.

The “bones” after which the series was named is a reference to the constantly evolving structure of bone tissues that develop mass in reaction to stress. “Where trees have the ability to add material where strength is needed, bones have the ability to also reduce material where it is not,” notes Laarman. “Our digital age makes it possible to not just use nature as a stylistic reference, but to actually use the underlying principles to generate shapes like an evolutionary process.” Laarman originally received some resistance from manufacturers when he first introduced the idea. He sought to cast his “Bone” pieces in a single piece, which seemed impossible until he found an experimental workshop in the Netherlands. The workshop, specializing in 3D-printed metal castings, successfully cast the first “Bone” chair in aluminum in one piece. The model has since become emblematic of contemporary design, masterfully embodying the correlation between art, functionality and technology. Other editions of the chair are held in prestigious museum collections worldwide, including those of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum für Kunst und Geweerde in Hamburg, the Centraal Museum in Utrecht and the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein.