Nature Boy

Nature Boy

all images courtesy Johnson Trading Gallery

The young British designer Max Lamb, the subject of a solo show at Johnson Trading Gallery in Hudson Square that opens today, creates furniture with rugged natural materials—blocks of stone, molten metals, beach sand—and various methods of hand-working. The results reflect a distinctive and surprisingly contemporary sensibility.

In addition to the pieces in the show, most of which are diminutively scaled chairs or stools, a series of video projections show Lamb sculpting/fabricating the furniture, revealing his process of working, which in many ways is as interesting as the pieces themselves. In the standout of these videos, the viewer sees Lamb meticulously carving lines in the sand at a beach in Cornwall. Then the viewer sees him, with the help of a friend or assistant, pouring a liquid (molten pewter) into the grooves. Seconds later in the time-lapse video, we see Lamb pull a perfectly formed stool out of the sand. He is clearly delighted with his creation, and the viewer will likely be pleased as well.

In another video, you watch Lamb carve a chair out of polystyrene foam with a saw and a hammer. The foam is then sand packed to make a cast. Molten bronze is then poured into the cast in a process he calls the “lost foam” technique, similar to lost wax casting. Another shows him sawing slabs of stone into chairs or benches. Recalling moments of both Maya Lin and Andy Goldsworthy’s work, Lamb is clearly a designer to watch. Max Lamb is on view through November 7.