Max Lamb and Jay Sae Jung Oh present reused-waste furniture in New York

British designer Max Lamb and South Korean designer Jay Sae Jung Oh have exhibited sculptural furniture made with recycled materials at New York gallery Salon 94 Design.

Both designers showed works across two separate exhibitions at Salon 94, an Upper East Side townhouse that was converted into a gallery through the designs of Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly.

Lamb’s exhibition, called The Inventory, featured one-off pieces developed by the designer over the past two decades, including his Nanocrystaline Copper, Poly Rainbow and Boulder series.

Max Lamb chairs on wooden floors
Max Lamb was part of a dual exhibition at Salon 94 in New York

According to Lamb, the retrospective was a chance to look back and put the finishing touches on collections created years ago.

“It was time to share Max’s work as an assemblage,” Salon 94 Design founder Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn told Dezeen.

“In constant making and motion — each body of work has a beautiful personal story.”

Max Lamb stoneMax Lamb stone
Lamb’s work included objects from many of his past collections, including Boulder

While Lamb’s work covers a wide range of materials, Salon 94 highlighted some of the work repurposing materials like wood and cardboard.

With collections like Western Red Cedar, Lamb experimented with ways to assemble repurposed pieces of wood that were otherwise unusable, creating sculptural forms that work with the natural shape of the wood.

He also explored how cardboard could be structurally sound enough to become a chair, without any additional materials.

The exhibition featured multiple rooms – some with large, colourful arrays of Lamb’s work, and others with more toned-down curated selections of muted works in wood and stone.

Max Lamb chairs Max Lamb chairs
Hundreds of Lamb’s works were shown

In a separate section of the gallery, Oh showed her latest designs. Called Salvage 2.0, the exhibition presented pieces of furniture comprising of natural leather cords wrapped around found objects.

According to the designer, the Salvage series is a commentary on overconsumption and was created to show how people might make better use of what they already have around them.

Jay Sae Jung Oh wooded cord found objectsJay Sae Jung Oh wooded cord found objects
Jay Sae Jung Oh presented new works using her signature method of wrapping found objects in cords

“Jay’s disciplined and focused practice is the perfect counterpart,” Greenberg Rohatyn added.

By bringing together forms that are still recognizable, Oh has stated that she hopes people will gain a new appreciation for the items they usually take for granted.

While past designs have included repurposed musical instruments, the Salvage 2.0 series incorporated toy biplanes, horses and telescopes; objects that were melded together using epoxy before being encased in rippled layers of leather cord.

This collection includes a bench, armchair, floor lamp and a planter. Wrapped in different colour variations of the material, the works have even more contrast and definition than earlier pieces.

“Max and Jay — though to different affect — rely on their hand, so every work is unique,” said Greenberg Rohatyn.

“Both insist on small footprints and economies. Jay’s forms are built out of other people’s defunct toys and plastics, and Max uses every off cut — whether a hole cut from a marble slab that becomes a leg for a table, or every cut of wood that becomes part of a puzzle-piece chair.”

Jay Sae Jung Oh objects wrapped in cordJay Sae Jung Oh objects wrapped in cord
Less than a dozen of the works were shown

Recently, Lamb presented his cardboard furniture with Gallery Fumi at Sized Studio during Frieze LA.

Oh’s Salvage Chair, an earlier iteration of the work at Salon 94, was shortlisted in the furniture design category during Dezeen Awards 2023.

The photography is by Sean Davidson.

The Inventory and Salvage 2.0 are on show from 29 February to 20 April, 2024 at Salon 94 Design. For more exhibitions, talks and events in architecture and design visit Dezeen Events Guide. 

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