Known for their seductive aesthetics and unexpected investigations into materials, design duo Formafantasma was approached by Italian fashion house Fendi to explore leatherwork and other materials as part of their “Design Performance Program”. Fendi has a long tradition of leather craftmanship starting out in 1918 as a leather and fur shop in central Rome, Italy. Through live demonstrations the program aims to celebrate the creative process and its impact on shaping the final result by offering the audience a unique view into the art of craft-based design work. Following their previous success in Milan and Miami the program spread its wings to the ‘Design Miami/ Basel’ fair that took place recently in Basel, Switzerland.
Leather is a material with a long history connected to mankind. It is known for its flexibility and durability, but also for the ethical and environmental concerns connected to the production process. In Craftica the design duo utilized discarded leather from Fendi’s manufacturing process but also searched above and beneath the sea from the vegetal to the animal world to expand the horizons on leather as a material and how it can be used. Through careful selection the design duo collected fish skins discarded by the food industry, organically processed leather, and cork ‘leather’ extracted from cork trees without harming them.
‘Craftica’ consists of a large variety of objects ranging from tools to furniture: a collection of glass lights hung via belts and hooks; a table and room divider produced from vegetal tanned rawhide stretched over brass structures with marble weights; a series of four stools characterized by organic forms and fin-like legs upholstered in fish leather (salmon, perch, trout, wolffish); spoons and protective masks made with scallop-shells; and jar-like containers made from glass and cow bladders. During the fair the designers added new pieces to the installation by collaborating with in-house craftsmen from Fendi.
Craftica is a display of unexpected and intriguing combinations of textures and forms as a result of combining a range of leathers with other materials. Processed materials such as marble, oxidized metal, glass, and wood, has been used in combination with the leather found above and beneath the sea. Even bones, shells, and a sponge cultivated in a sea-farm have found their place in these skillfully crafted objects.
Formafantasma consists of the italian born duo Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farrasin. Their work intersects with the fields of design, culture, tradition, folk craft, and critical approaches to sustainability. Craftica was shown at the ‘Design Miami/ Basel’ in Basel, Switzerland between June 12-17.
Images © Luisa Zanzani