Real Wood, with Max Lamb (2009)

It’s not my first time in Boisbuchet. I came here before, in 2009, for a workshop with the British designer Max Lamb. Five of my friends from Canada and I took his workshop « real wood » as a summer treat during our design education. I didn’t know Max Lamb and his work before Boisbuchet. I was surprised by the knowledge and the craftsmanship of this young man. I was also impressed by the way he knew how to push you in the right direction, building on your idea instead of destroying it (like a lot of French teachers enjoy to do). A born tutor and leader.

Here is a little biography I stole from cmog.org :  »

Max Lamb was born in 1980 in Cornwall, England. In 2003, he earned a BA in three-dimensional design from Northumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Before pursuing a graduate degree, he worked for an interior design company in London called Ou Baholyodhin Studio. In 2006, he received an MA in design from the Royal College of Art in London. He worked with designer Tom Dixon before launching his own design studio in London in 2007.

Lamb designs contemporary furniture. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, such as the Design Museum and Gallery FUMI in London, the Johnson Trading Gallery in New York, the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami, and the Melbourne, Australia-based Broached Commissions.

Lamb’s awards include the 2003 Peter Walker Award for “Innovation in Furniture Design,” a 2004 Hettich International Design Award, the 2008 “Designer of the Future” Award at Design Miami/ Basel, and a 2009 Courvoisier “The Essence of the 21st Century” Award. »

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The concept of his workshop was simple. We had 4 days to find a spot in the woods surrounding Boisbuchet, clear the space, and build furniture from what we found. Oh, also, nails, glue and screws not allowed!

This is exactly the kind of subject you find at Boisbuchet. Building miracles out of junk. I’m lucky, it’s also my favourite hobby.

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I decided that I was going to create my seat from dead branches. I didn’t really have the choice since we couldn’t cut trees. Max is a real nature lover. At a moment, I felt like I was taking a design workshop with Bear Grylls.

The best way I found to realise my idea was to cut the branches in short logs, make a whole in the middle and weave them together with cord, as if they were beads. Somehow inspired by taxi driver’s seats.

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The first prototype was done by the third day. The concept was working, but the wood I had was fragile. Also, the form I had wasn’t much interesting. So, Max helped me cut some long and thin branches from a tree that fell during a storm many years ago, but managed to survive. We also found this branche in the shape of a hockey stick that had the perfect curve for a single person hamac chair.

I went back to work…

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In the end, the chair got suspended between trees, like a swing, since I didn’t have time to build the legs. It was surprisingly confortable. Unfortunately, it was installed too low. But I promised myself to finish this project one day… maybe this summer.

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At the end of this amazing week, everybody took the bus to go back to Poitier’s train station. Except my friend Julien and I who decided to ride all the way to the border of Spain with our bicycles. A quick 700km. I have to say that I was quite exhausted on the plane back to Montreal.

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