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A little more than a decade ago, Laurent Martin defected from the advertising world. At the age of 50, he developed a monomania that saw him retreat into an artist’s life in rural Catalonia. The object of his deep-set and dense fixation? Bamboo.

There are late bloomers and then there is Laurent Martin. The sculptor—a sturdily built man with bushy brows that dance across his face— began his “artist’s life” at 50 years old. Before that, the first five decades had followed a fairly ordinary path: There was a successful career as a creative director and relocation from his native France to the sunnier climes of Barcelona. He had a son and a daily routine. Then he discovered bamboo.

“It was a revelation, ” Martin recalls. After becoming intrigued by the interior architecture of Barcelona’s first sushi bar, he first split some bamboo to try to simulate its structure. He was immediately obsessed; in 2004, he left behind the “artificial world” of advertising and started life again, this time as a full-time artist. He has made a career of it ever since.

  • Words:
    Pip Usher
  • Photography:
    Mirjam Bleeker

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  • Words:
    Pip Usher
  • Photography:
    Mirjam Bleeker
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