Laurent Max started his orientation year at the KASKA (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp) at the tender age of sixteen. Little did he know that from then on he would remain linked with the internationally acclaimed institute, initially as student, later on as professor.
The program ‘Silversmithing’ at KASKA was founded by Wim Ibens by special request of Andries Kinsbergen, the governor of the province of Antwerp at that time. It was the charisma of Wim Ibens that persuaded Laurent Max to enroll in the program, and later on become part of the ‘atelier 35’, the take-off point for many Flemish jewellery designers. Fellow students like Daniël Weinberger and the late Bent Van Looij (amongst others), absorbed the knowledge and skill of Wim Ibens , and helped feed the hunger for further development and research in the fields of jewellery design and silversmithing.
Before being asked to share his knowledge and experience with new generations of students in jewellery design, Laurent Max was active in the Antwerp region as designer, did an internship in the USA and started up his own design studio. In line with the vision of governor A. Kinsbergen, a cooperation with the Diamond High Council Belgium (also situated in Antwerp) was a natural next step. In succession of Wim Ibens, Laurent Max was repeatedly invited to chair in the international jury for the Diamond High Council award.
Apart from the international group expositions, the workshops and the lectures, Laurent Max’ personal work didn’t remain unnoticed either. Because of his versatility and ever growing international recognition he was awarded a Certified Statement of Professional Knowledge by Ministerial decree in 1991, which meant an equalization of his degree with a doctoral thesis (PHd)
Since several years Laurent Max has been invited to China as a guest lecturer. His input in the pedagogic project of the department Arts & Design at the Beijing Fashion Institute & Technology was acknowledged in 2005 by the bestowment of the title ‘honorary professor’ in 2014 at the Nanjing Academy as well. Not only the rich and ancient Chinese culture, but also the ethnic silversmiths and coppersmiths and the passion and zeal of a new generation of Chinese artists appeal greatly to Laurent Max and add an extra stimulus to his own need to create. During expositions (individually or in cooperation with other designers) in China and Japan his work received high exclamations.
As to his own method of jewellery design, matter and color take center stage. Consequently the employed materials and techniques can be very divers. Each design is a challenge waiting to be met, a form of communication between the designer and his work. Because of this approach boundaries are pushed outward and new concepts are born. The use of several techniques comes as naturally as the use of charcoal to a draftsman, the use of the paints on his palette to a painter, the use of the clay between his fingers to a sculptor. Form, color and matter give shape to a concept sprouted from a feeling, from a mere though. So the individual musings are captured and sealed within a jewel or an object, thus confirming the validity of the concept.
Within the ever present intercultural frame work, and within a permanent artistic communications network Laurent Max affirms his identity as lone wolf, sometimes cautiously, sometimes with reckless abandon, but always with conviction!