Studio Formafantasma is more focused on the materials that go into their work than the form or function it will ultimately take. This has led to projects that make use of organic resins in place of plastics, hand-crafted leather, and now basaltic lava taken from two of the last active volcanoes in Europe. The De Natura Fossilium line includes beautifully carved clocks, tables, stools, glasses, tableware, and textiles, some of which are even made from a lava-based glass.
The most impressive, and challenging, aspect of the project was remelting Etna’s rocks so that they could be mouth-blown into box-like structures that take on the shape of illegal dwellings situated at the foot of the volcano. It also demonstrates there are plenty of options for beautiful design, even without artificial materials. “Glass is, nowadays, a perfectly engineered material produced by a few companies all around the globe,” Andrea Trimarchi told Co.Design. “Using molten lava felt like going back to the very first moment in which glass has been discovered: it was an unstable and mysterious material.”
In addition to volcanic glass, the studio also experimented with obsidian, a semi-precious glass that is only produced when molten lava comes into contact with water. The most interesting experiment however, was the use of volcanic fiber to weave two different wall hangings that depict Greek gods, which could act as a sustainable alternative to carbon fiber.
While most designers turn to plastic and other convenient modern materials, Formafantasma proves that with a little bit of extra effort, you can create stunning pieces of art from materials that don’t have a negative impact on the environment. The De Natura Fossilium pieces are available as a limited edition run, exclusively through the Libby Sellers Gallery in London.
Images via Studio Formafantasma