Craftica by Formafantasma

London-debut at Gallery Libby Sellers

by eleonora usseglio prinsi
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Gallery Libby Sellers presents until 28th February 2013, the London-debut of Formafantasma’s Craftica series. Conceived in collaboration with luxury goods house Fendi for Design Miami/Basel 2012, Craftica is a visual and tactile investigation into the diversity and origins of leather through a collection of handmade stools, lights, vessels and tools.

As Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi, the Italian-born duo behind Formafantasma, have said:

“the design is driven by the symbolic connotations of leather, a material that, more than any other, represents the complex relationship between humans and nature. Leather has the ability to evoke almost ancestral memories of when nature was hunted to produce food, tools and protection for the body. Searching underneath and above the sea, from the vegetal to the animal world, the installation offers a holistic view on leather as a material.”

Drawings on parchment (hairless goat skin) in collaboration with Francesco Zorzi. Protective masks: Discarded Fendi leather, scallop-shells. Scallop spoons: Vegetal tanned trout and salmon skin, scallop shells, metal, discarded Fendi leather. TopPerch stool: Vegetal tanned perch skin, lime wood, brass label. Perch fish hot water bottle: Vegetal tanned perch skin, glass, brass, Luisa Zanzani

The resulting effect is a tactile, pre-industrial and glamorous range that Silvia Fendi has described as “experimentation at its best”. To complement their material investigations, Formafantasma invited Francesco Zorzi to create a series of witty illustrations on parchment that show a picaresque history of leather’s historical usages.

Bells-lights: Discarded Fendi leather, glass, leather-covered hooks, leather-covered electric wire, Luisa Zanzani

The collaboration between Farresin (b.1980) and Trimarchi (b.1983) started during their BA in communication design at ISIA in Florence. Their interest in product design developed while on the IM Master's degree at the Design Academy Eindhoven, from which they graduated in July 2009 with a shared thesis and portfolio based on traditional Sicilian folk craft. Their award-winning work explores such issues as the role of design in vernacular craft, the relationship between tradition and local culture, critical approaches to sustainability and the significance of objects as cultural conduits.

From left to right: Wolffish-pig stool: Vegetal tanned pig leather, vegetal tanned wolffish skin, wood, brass label Studs stool: Leather, brass studs, Luisa Zanzani

They identify their role as the bridge between craft, industry, object and user and seek to stimulate a more critical and conceptual design dialogue. Formafantasma were listed by Alice Rawsthorn, design critic for the International Herald Tribune, and Paola Antonelli, senior design curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as one of twenty designers who will influence design in the next decade. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, MUDAC and the Vitra Design Museum. 

Gallery Libby Sellers 
41-42 Berners Street, London 

    Craftica series 2

    Craftica series

    Eindhoven / Netherlands / 2012