formafantasma: charcoal for the vitra design museum
formafantasma: charcoal for the vitra design museum formafantasma: charcoal for the vitra design museum
jun 08, 2012

formafantasma: charcoal for the vitra design museum

formafantasma: charcoal for the vitra design museum all photos by luisa zanzani




working with the notions of tradition and nostalgia, formafantasma‘s latest project draws on the tension between the dystopian connotation of charcoal, causing pollution and destruction while also being employed in healthcare and water purification. in this commissioned work for the vitra design museum the italian duo (andrea trimarchi and simone farresin), now based in the netherlands, collaborated with mrs. doris wicki – one of the last individuals dedicated to the tradition of producing charcoal by the slow burning (5-7 days) of wood – along with glass blower massimo lunardon and a wood carver to produce a series of jars and wooden ‘filters’.


below is a look at the various carbon ‘filter’ variations and glass vessels formafantasma produced:





over the course of their time spent with mrs. wicki, the customized pieces which formafantasa developed were left burning and deteriorating. the charred results were sculpted into a series of elements to be used in conjunction with the glass vessels they also created. in addition to this series, a small glass bottle was blown into a hollow carbonized log whereby the resulting glass becomes opaque and textured at that point in which it has come into contact with the charcoal. the production process took place in a forest situated in the surrounding area of zurich, and was documented by luisa zanzani.







illustrations by francesco zorzi




‘charcoal’ is part of the ‘confrontations’ exhibition presented at the vitra design museum gallery from june 12th to september 2nd, 2012, as part of the show’s opening, the designers and mrs. wicki will build a small oven. within the space, alongside the design pieces, black charcoal bread (baked following a traditional recipe to aid digestion) and purified water will be served to remind visitors of the original uses for charcoal. in addition, twelve drawings developed with illustrator francesco zorzi portraying trees burning, polluted cities, fumes and black rain will be featured to highlight the misuse of the medium through the ages.

illustrations by francesco zorzi


illustrations by francesco zorzi


charcoal kiln used to produce the series of design objects


burning of the wood pieces takes 5-7 days


pieces ready to be sculpted further



wooden and charcoal forms


creation of the illustrations by francesco zorzi depicting the misuse of charcoal through the ages



video documenting the production of formafantasma’s ‘charcoal’ series

video by luisa zanzani
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    mil says:
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    frank says:
  • my pretentio-meter is strongly registering

    ... says:
  • I Love this!

    Jonny says:
  • Great pieces!

    Carmen says:
  • BEAUTIFUL! Love that these guys continue to explore age-old materials and techniques and translate them into new and contemporary forms with purpose.

    Jess says:

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