Charcoal has been widely used and misused since ancient times. It was first used as a water and air filter by the Egyptians, but in the 19th century it was banned for causing bast deforestation and CO2 emissions — a consequence of being the only energy source for the production and processing of metals. In order to highlight the burnt wood’s traditionally healthy aspects, Formafantasma created a line of beautiful vessels that purify tap water using the pitch black material. These stunning vases combine hand-blown glass and charcoal in a succinct design that manages to explore concepts like tradition and nostalgia, and charcoal’s positive properties.
Formafantasma has astonished us with their crafty vessels and objects, made from unusual biodegradable materials. This time they have worked with a team including glass blower Massimo Lunardon and charcoal burner Doris Wicki. Photographer Luisa Zanzani alos joined the team to document the process, and designer Francesco Zorzi made beautiful charcoal drawings that highlight the contrast of charcoal’s purifying properties with its pollution effects on a huge scale.
To produce the Charcoal collection, all the designers spent a few days in the forest surrounding Zurich with Mrs. Wicki where they customized wooden pieces and burnt them using traditional techniques deeply rooted in Swiss tradition. Then they created a series of sculpted pieces to be fitted in hand-blown containers — including some textured ones blowed inside burnt branches.
Designed specially for an exhibition dubbed ‘Confrontations’ at the Weil Am Rhein Vitra Design Museum, these beautiful functional objects are traditional yet innovative.
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