Art Parties

'CULTURED' and Gallery FUMI Celebrate Max Lamb’s Inventive Cardboard-Box Furniture Collection

Max Lamb (left) at the presentation of his "Box 2" exhibition. Image courtesy of Kadeem Jackson TakeOutShop for Gallery FUMI.

Amazon boxes don’t typically end up on display in art galleries. But they take center stage this month at the stateside debut of London’s Gallery FUMI. For months, the British furniture designer Max Lamb swiped cardboard packaging from his neighbors’ bins to use as raw material for “Box 2,” his first presentation on the West Coast. This week at a private walkthrough at SIZED STUDIO, Gallery FUMI’s temporary LA home, guests took in what the castoffs had become: functional furniture. Lamb gave the single-use boxes, which made the trek from the artist’s studio outside London to southern California, one more life.

“The main principle here is to get rid of waste,” the designer said in an interview for CULTURED magazine’s latest issue. As guests streamed into the gallery for a celebratory evening hosted by Gallery FUMI, CULTURED, and digital marketplace Basic.Space, Lamb revealed his process, which involves binding the pliable cardboard with homemade flour-and-water paste.

Image courtesy of Kadeem Jackson TakeOutShop for Gallery FUMI.

In attendance were a suite of art and design luminaries, including design curator and dealer Joel Chen and his design-dealer daughter Bianca Chen, furniture and lighting designer Charles De Lisle, interior designer Richard Petit, West Coast Architectural Digest editor Mayer Rus, interior designer Oliver Furth and brand strategist Sean Yashar, and interior designer Jamie Bush.

Once guests finished perusing the works on display, they migrated to the Dahlia Lounge at the Proper Hotel for dinner and conversation. Lamb wrote block-lettered place cards on (what else?) cardboard; the menu included citrus salad with beet puree, grilled branzino, and braised short rib. 

Lamb’s presentation is part of FUMI’s six-week pop-up in Los Angeles, timed to coincide with Frieze LA. The London-based gallery has taken over SIZED STUDIO, a 5,000-square-foot art and design hub in Melrose Hill. Alongside Lamb’s work, FUMI is showing examples of more than 20 artists, designers, and makers, including ceramicist Jeremy Anderson, sculptor Voukenas Petrides, and designer Saelia Aparicio.   

Central to Lamb’s designs—which include repurposed chairs, stools, and coffee tables (first seen in “Box” at Gallery FUMI in London last October)—is a commitment to highlighting, and perhaps extending, the life cycle of everyday objects. Invested in working within a set of constraints, he reveals just how much can be made from what we throw away. “The idea is that they grow old gracefully,” Lamb told CULTURED. “They mature, they wrinkle, maybe they get a bit grumpy, but they're still functional.”