High Museum of Art
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High Museum of Art

Joris Laarman stands with his arms folded against a wall of sketches and inspiration under a sign that reads “Joris Laarman Lab.”

“Ivy Climbing Wall” by Joris Laarman: May Collection Highlight

Laarman’s designs “disrupt the rhythm of daily life” by prioritizing fun and function over pure efficiency.

By Eva Berlin, Digital Content Specialist, High Museum of Art

Dutch designer Joris Laarman is at the forefront of contemporary design with his conceptual creations that explore technological boundaries. His experimental methods of fabrication continually propel him to explore new processes for creating and have made him one of today’s most compelling designers.

Laarman’s Ivy Climbing Wall is simultaneously a functional, adventurous mode of traveling between floors, an alternative to stairs, and an elegant piece of architectural décor.

Joris Laarman in a red and blue plaid shirt.
Curved, white objects affixed to the wall form Joris Laarman’s “Ivy Climbing Wall.”
Laarman said of his Ivy Climbing Wall, “It’s like a fun route to take instead of an efficient route to take. It is functional, but it is a different kind of functionality than we are used to.” Ivy Climbing Wall, 2004, Joris Laarman (Dutch, born 1979).

Laarman works to alter traditional perspectives on functionalism: “I wanted to demonstrate that modernist functionality and postmodernist effusiveness do not have to exclude each other … that functionalists are also sinners of styling and that soberness is not always more valid than highly decorative form.”

See Ivy Climbing Wall on view on the Wieland Pavilion Skyway Level. It is one of over eighteen thousand works of art in our rotating collection. It’s all here for you!

Interested in Decorative Arts and Design?
Mark your calendar for the High’s upcoming exhibition Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting (July 2–September 26, 2021). The stunning show will demonstrate how innovative designers have harnessed light’s radiance and beauty, resulting in artistic and technologically advanced designs that extend beyond the functional nature of lighting.

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