FORMAFANTASMA

VOGUE Living Australia - - Art & Design - VL

El­e­gantly in­tel­li­gent, un­der the ban­ner of Formafantasma, An­drea Tri­marchi and Si­mone Far­resin cre­ate prod­ucts that are about rigour of con­cept as much as beauty of line. Tri­marchi, from Si­cily, and the Veneto-born Far­resin met as un­der­grad­u­ates at the De­sign Academy Eind­hoven, in The Nether­lands. They set up their Am­s­ter­dam stu­dio soon af­ter grad­u­at­ing in 2009 and quickly made a name for them­selves as de­sign­ers with a unique affin­ity for both in­dus­try and craft and an in­trigu­ing ap­proach to de­sign as cul­tural arte­fact — not just more in­evitable land­fill. The New York Times calls them “masters of po­etic Min­i­mal­ism”. While it’s true that Formafantasma’s out­put is re­duc­tive in ges­ture, there’s a pal­pa­ble depth that de­rives from the ex­ten­sive re­search ef­fort they ex­pend on each new pro­ject. Their De Nat­u­ral Fos­sil­ium col­lec­tion of 2014, for in­stance, was an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the very par­tic­u­lar con­di­tions of life in the shadow of Si­cily’s ac­tive vol­cano, Mount Etna. They saw Etna as “a mine with­out min­ers, ex­ca­vat­ing it­self to ex­pose raw ma­te­ri­als” from which they cre­ated totemic low ta­bles from lava and brass, hand-blown ves­sels from vol­canic glass and fash­ioned an eerily dark mir­ror from ob­sid­ian. been ex­plored, ex­plains Far­resin. Or, where it had been the re­sult was ba­si­cally ugly, colour­ful, brash.” ond, WireRing, is made from a cus­tomised, fine rec­tan­gu­lar rd that passes over a wall-mounted ring con­tain­ing the LED educ­tive to the point of dis­ap­pear­ing, both WireRing and be­guil­ing in their ex­treme sim­plic­ity, max­imis­ing emo­tional ith min­i­mal means — and zero gim­mick. “They’re not ntal in and of them­selves but by the shadow they cast, by t,” says Far­resin. ter­est in ef­fect as much as ob­ject is what sets their de­signs also what in­spired the Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria (NGV) is­sion a pro­ject from Formafantasma for its in­au­gu­ral of art and de­sign. Typ­i­cally com­plex, the pair de­cided to e Streams, an in­tense re­search pro­ject around the re­cy­cling of p met­als, to sparknewideas about the de­sign and­man­u­fac­tur­ing of elec­tronic de­vices. “Be­cause Australia is one of the few re­main­ing First World coun­tries to still ex­tract re­sources from the ground, we be­gan by re­flect­ing on the min­ing in­dus­try,” Far­resin says. “But then we de­cided to shift fo­cus to what we call above ground min­ing, specif­i­cally the process of ex­tract­ing pre­cious min­er­als from waste.” Such as the gold, sil­ver and cop­per in mo­bile phones. ‘Ur­ban min­ing’ has been go­ing on for al­most a decade now, since metal prices sky­rock­eted post-Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis. What Formafantasma bring to it is a unique, po­etic vision and rare tal­ent for con­jur­ing up form from process.

The NGV Tri­en­nial runs from De­cem­ber 15, 2017– April 15, 2018. Visit ngv.vic.gov. au; formafantasma.com

clockwise from top right: Formafantasma’s Si­mone Far­resin (left) and An­drea Tri­marchi. Blush, an LED strip cast­ing mul­ti­coloured re­flec­tions. The duo’s WireRing lamp.

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