LDF22: Meet Laurent Allard and the Iris Lounge Chair

The virtual hits keep rolling with our series of digital artist features in collaboration with It’s Nice That for London Design Festival 2022. The next is a special partnership between 3D artist Laurent Allard and The Conran Shop’s own New Designers winner Huw Evans, with his debut Iris Lounge Chair.

Laurent Allard in a 3D art director who draws inspiration from numerous historical, artistic and cinematographic references to model his universe. The result is a 3D world which is as kitschy, trivial and colourful as it is grotesque. His dreamlike and subconscious creations, where represented objects are often related to childhood, are filled with hidden visual jokes, which characterise his unique touch. Attracted to classical painting, symbols and metaphors, Laurent emphasises everyday objects which become artistic subjects. His clients include Nike, New York Times, Paper Magazine, Convoy, Lacoste and Jean Paul Gaultier. 

Allard reproduces the Iris Lounge Chair by Huw Evans in playful matchstick form, igniting the innovative design to watch it go up in flames. As the celebrated winner of New Designers 2019, The Conran Shop tipped graduate designer Huw Evans as a name to watch. Now a member of The Conran Shop’s team, the young designer unveils his winning creation, the remarkable Iris Lounge Chair, released in two signature wood finishes to highlight the incredible craftsmanship of the piece. 

Read Laurent's exclusive interview below to learn more about his work and inspiration.

1. Welcome to The Conran Shop, Laurent! Please could you tell our readers all about you?

My name is Laurent Allard and I am a 3D artist. I live and work in Paris. I trained myself in 3D after I realised that it was the medium I preferred, and I ended up making it my profession. Since then, I've been trying to develop and expand my style and technique. In a nutshell, I do still lifes, mixing objects of various natures which can have a comic or nostalgic meaning, to create grotesque compositions. Objects are for me vectors of ideas as much as images.

2. How did your relationship with It’s Nice That begin?

I was contacted a little over a year ago by Ruby Boddington to do an interview for the It's Nice That website. It was a great opportunity for me to talk about my work, and to be associated with media champion like INT.

3. Please take us through your journey in reimagining the Iris Lounge Chair by Huw Evans for Meet Me in the Metaverse; what was your favourite part of the process?

Reimagining the Iris was really fun. Trying to find the right concept for the shape and material of the object, while keeping continuity with my own production was a real challenge, but I really enjoyed technically realising this idea. I liked the idea of having a narrative with the sequence of flames, and the timing while having a realistic rendering of the matches and the fire.

4. What does the Metaverse mean to you?

To be honest, at the moment it's still a rather vague concept. Is it something as groundbreaking as the internet has been, or is it just a new app store: an almost purely commercial revolution? For the moment it's hard to say. In any case, the term seems to have appeared in a Facebook video, from Mark Zuckerberg himself, so it's hard not to associate it with Facebook and its empire, and with an attempt to monopolise the possibilities that new technologies can offer.

5. As we celebrate the 20th London Design Festival, what is the importance of such events for artists and designers?

These kinds of events are essential for artists and designers. They celebrate and showcase their influence on our everyday lives, and further, raise the profile of the cities that host them.

6. Finally, what does the future hold for you?

Four years ago I wasn't even doing 3D, so you never know what the future will bring! But I would like to develop the more artistic aspects of my production even more, and even to do exhibitions, to mix the processes, not lock myself into a single practice. More and more I want to make volumes, to give life to the objects in my compositions. To take them out of the virtual and bring them back into the real.

Meet Me in the Metaverse may be over, but you can still shop the LDF22 edit today.