A master craftsman with metal and expert furniture designer, Laurent Dif is one of the few artists qualified as a carpenter who has successfully managed to apply and transfer his skill with wood to a completely different material. The result is spectacular, owing to the sculptural forms, finishes with an industrial patina that executes himself and strong aesthetics that combine design, manual production and limited edition.
“I’m curious to see the kind of work I do now because, when I was a child, I was restless and destroyed my toys to see what they were hiding inside. I was always more interested in discovering their hidden mechanisms than in playing with them. Now it’s funny to remember it, because my parents despaired. The poor things didn’t understand”, says Laurent.
It was not until many years later that he moved from the French Riviera to Paris and entered into a closer relationship with the arts, though the innovative cultural activities that were beginning to emerge in Paris in the 80s and 90s. “I sang in a band, I experimented with photography, I was part of the city’s cultural life in exhibitions, concerts, exhibitions and courses, and I even worked for a well-known restoration company, where I was able to work closely with furniture design and recycling”.
“It was a very interesting time. I learned a lot, particularly in relation to finishes, patinas, painting, furniture repair, etc. I also had the chance to work for a well-known French designer, with whom I discovered the incredible world created in the fashion fairs, in product creation, jewellery design, etc. It was a curious time, both personally and professionally, because I discovered that I was a tremendously creative person, with enormous potential for inventiveness, who liked investigating all kinds of activities related to the craft world, with many projects in my head”, he tells us.
“I’m quite vain. I don’t want my pieces to be inspired by others. They have to be unique and have their own story”.
But there is one turning point in Laurent’s creative world, it can be seen when he moved to Spain. He fell in love, travelled to another country and became active in all kinds of craft-related fields. “Three years ago, I began to draw, to make my first paper models, and also in 3D, to see if I could find an outlet for all that pent-up creativity. It was also a perfect time for reflection because I discovered what the world of production is like, the world of suppliers, how hard it is to start something new on your own”, says Laurent.
At that moment, Laurent began to work with metal, to experiment with a new material – one of the cheapest –, to develop his own machinery to make his first table and chair designs, and to do his own production without depending on anybody. His first designs were born and the response from the public was tremendously positive. His particular working method, with which he achieved unique and masterfully finished pieces, was a real success. His first contests and exhibitions began to happen, giving him a chance to present his work, as well as commissions and his first pieces.
“Using metal was kind of accidental, to be honest. It was a cheap material, even cheaper than wood, and it enabled me to mould, finish and execute in a way that suited what I had in my head better. I was also very clear that what I wanted to develop had to be a handmade product with all the issues that you come across when you work with this kind of material. I’m so happy now and the first designs, since the LD1 chair, confirmed that I made the right decision”, he says.
“Playing with metal edges, discovering the possibilities of this material and seeing how everything gradually moulds in my hands, is one of the greatest satisfactions I have. It took me a while to find my career path, but it has been a journey that I have thoroughly enjoyed and in which I discovered my great creative capacity”, he says.
Fotos. © Laurent Dif
This article is also available in Español