FormaFantasma is a design studio of two Italian designers, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin. The studio has offices in Milan, Italy and Rotterdam, Netherlands. Their stated aim is “to facilitate a deeper understanding of both natural and built environments” and to apply transformative design principles to product design and spacial design (e.g., designing environments for companies and museums). The firm lists some recognizable clients including Lexus, Hermes, Prada, Samsung and the Rijksmuseum. Objects from their projects have been acquired by MOMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris and others. Basically: an impressive resume.
I was attracted to FormaFantasma’s deep enquiry into materials – of course seeking out how they examined clay in particular. I found several relevant FormaFantasma projects.
In “Cromatica“, the designers investigate the attributes of subtle color variation in industrially-produced ceramic tiles. The designers created ceramic large panels in two “base colors”, two “light full colors” and two “dark full colors” using a combination of digital printing and traditional high gloss glazing. The Cromatica project essentially built on variation of color hues and values to add interest to large tiled surfaces. Two photographs provide a quick summation.
In Clay, FormaFantasma designed a collection of vases and bowls with unique, “torn-off” appearances (where the vessel was ripped off the support after being thrown). The torn-off surfaces have a jagged, raw quality that contrasts with the precisely-thrown vertical surfaces of the form, and accentuates certain emotional properties invoked by violent tearing apart action of the wet clay.
In addition to designing the vases and bowls themselves, FormaFantasma developed the production process to rip thrown vessels from the throwing wheel without distorting the shape of the vessel itself, thus enabling high-production replication of these forms for the collection.
A collection of ceramic vessels created by FormaFantasma for “Moulding Tradition” reference patterns of immigration and assimilation of people flowing from Northern Africa into Sicily throughout history. The ceramic forms of the collection reflect Sicilian “Testa di Moro” ceramics still seen in Sicily today. (Testa di Moro vessels portray either a Caucasian female face or a dark Moorish male face, recounting a traditional Sicilian legend of a Moor who fell in love with, and then abandoned, a young Sicilian girl.) FormaFantasma’s collection incorporates these deep historic and artistic traditions while at the same time acknowledging contemporary opinion that 65% of Italians believe that immigrants are “a danger for [Italian] culture”.
FormaFantasma’s website contains additional projects examining materials other than clay. Check out “Charcoal“.