Craftica / Formafantasma at Gallery Libby Sellers

There has been alot of talk in design circles around the recall of a pre-industrial era, when industrial manufacturing, mass production and artificial materials were not available. Less for reasons of wanting to revisit an age for the sake of revival, but more of an appreciation for what caftsmanship had to offer & potentially what we can regain, learn and combine in a new way.


Salmon stool, 2012

Discarded leather, vegetal tanned salmon skin, wood, sea sponge Formafantasma is on exhibition at Gallery Libby Sellers in London. The design duo Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi, are Formafantasma (translates to 'Ghost shapes') the two Italian designers are based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Don't miss the opportunity to see their award winning work up close.


Graphic identity by Studio Frith


Overview of the exhibition at Gallery Libby Sellers Commissioned by fashion house Fendi for Design Miami/Basel 2012, Craftica looks at craft-based design work blending the traditional and the experimental while establishing a new interactive format for design. Craftica celebrates the creative process and the key role it plays in shaping the value of finished products. Formafantasma were selected for their inventive material investigations, as well as a highly refined and seductive aesthetic sensibility. The skins are tanned to maintain their original colours and textures and in most cases obtained from common, ‘unsophisticated’ animals like salmons, trout and pigs.


Wolffish-pig stool, 2012'We were interested in this idea of the exotic,...Often with high fashion there is this search for the exotic or the extraordinary. And we wanted to get the same result, but instead use the really common.' Simone Farresin


Fendi Bell Lights. 2012. Photography by Lusia ZanzaniCraftica is a visual and tactile investigation into the diversity and origins of leather through a collection of handmade stools, lights, vessels and tools.


Scallop Spoons, 2012

Vegetal tanned trout and salmon skin, scallop shells, metal, discarded Fendi leather'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.' Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi, Formafantasma


Water Container (large), 2012

Cow bladders, glass, brass, corkIn creating the series, Formafantasma merged their own willful primitivism with Fendi’s time-honoured craftsmanship and rich material resources through the addition of vegetal dried fish skins (sourced from a food factory in Iceland), oxidized metal, glass, wood and other natural materials such as bones, shells and cow bladders. 


Perch Fish-Pig Stool, 2012The 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.


Jar, 2012. Mouth-blown glass on a cow bone

Photography by Luisa ZanzaniThe 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. They identify their role as the bridge between craft, industry, object and user and seek to stimulate a more critical and conceptual design dialogue.


Wolffish Hot Water Bottle, 2012


Wolffish-pig stool, 2012


Moulding Tradition: Hip Flask, 2009

Unglazed ceramic, glass, jacquard ribbon, photographic paperFormafantasma on exhibition 1 - 28 February 2013

Gallery Libby Sellers