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5 Questions for Max Lamb

One of the highlights of this year’s design week has to be Max Lamb‘s Excercises in Seating. For this expo, Max had a look at his archive, collecting a series of chairs he designed between 2006 and 2015 – the last one was only finished a few weeks ago. All chairs all presented in a circle, in chronological order. It’s up to the visitor to discover which one is the first and which one is the last. This is harder than it sounds: despite spanning a few years, the chairs fit together remarkably well.

Material is what’s most important for Max, more so than the eventual end product. As he says, his pieces are not really designed, but they’re made: “I don’t start from a previous sketch or plan, and I’m not dependent on a specific shape, medium or process. My focus lies on the method. Manipulating, transforming and adjusting material eventually leads to a piece of furniture, whether it’s functional or not.”

1. Who are you?
My name is Max Lamb, I’m 34 years old and I’m originally from Cornwall. I like making, nature, technologie, science and furniture. And all these things come together in my designs.

2. Why are you in Milan?
Milan is always in my schedule. It’s an important platform for me to present my works, since it’s such a democratic, global experience. Visitors from all over the world, from all classes and backgrounds come to Milaan during the design week, making it the perfect spot to meetothers. It’s the most universal spot to be present as a designer.
This year, I was asked bij 5vie to design an expo for this space, the Spazio Sanremo, and old garage. The objects that are displayed now, weren’t made for this expo in particular, that’s not how I work. These are all pieces I made the previous years, which are gathered now. I don’t make things for expo’s or shows, but for people. I want to reach out, speaking to them on an emotional level.

3. What is the most important thing you learned so far in your career?
Get your hands dirty. You have to feel the materials yourself, and you have to know how they work and how you can work with them. Don’t be afraid to try and experiment.

4. Why do you do what you do?
I never woke up with the sudden idea to become a designer, I believe it’s more a result of several elements.
I had a very creative childhood. My father was a survival instructor in the Air Force, so we had to move a lot. every two years I had to adapt to a new school, new friends, new city … This automatically makes you creative and inventive: I had to adapt and adjust, and had to make sure I could entertain myself on my own.
My dad was also a fairly strict man, he likes order. Become of this, I’m also very keen on order and structure, but I can also appreciate the beauty in chaos. 

5. Wat wil je zeker niet missen dit jaar?
I’ll probably be here, at my own exhibition, most of the time. And I absolutely don’t mind. I can find the work of others online, but meeting people and talking to them is only possible here. i could just stand here at the exact same spot for seven days, and still meet hundreds of interesting people.