Formafantasma cloaks Stockholm Design Week installation in dusty pink Maharam curtain

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Stockholm Design Week guest of honour Formafantasma has created Reading Room, an interactive installation at the Swedish furniture fair that uses “minimal resources”.

On display at last week’s Stockholm Furniture Fair, the site-specific temporary installation was created by Italian design studio Formafantasma – the design week’s guest of honour.

Reading Room was a temporary installation by Formafantasma

Positioned near the entrance of the fairground, Reading Room featured uniform rows of Artek timber tables and stools surrounded by a thick floor-to-ceiling curtain by textile brand Maharam, which was attached to a curved rail and finished in a dusty shade of pink.

Various books focussed on sustainability, ecology and ecosystems were placed on the rectilinear tables for visitors to sit and consider.

The space featured tables and stools by Artek

Thin strip lighting by Italian brand Flos illuminated the installation while a large screen at one end of the space showed a selection of films by Formafantasma, including work from Cambio – the studio’s ongoing investigation into the impact of the timber industry.

According to studio co-founder Andrea Trimarchi, the project was created as “somewhere to sit down” and reflect.

At a design fair, he told Dezeen, “you need it!”

Thin Flos lighting illuminated the space

The tables and seating were sourced from Finnish brand Artek’s Forest Collection – developed by the brand in collaboration with Formafantasma – which includes recognisable Artek designs reworked in wild birch wood, such as Alvar Aalto’s iconic 1933 Stool 60.

Celebrated for its knottier appearance, the wild birch was introduced to embrace “the honest beauty and variety of the forest” in Artek furniture after Formafantasma conducted a reassessment of the brand’s selection criteria for wood in 2020.


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Considering the relevance of Reading Room, Trimarchi said, “a fair is a place where people gather to see new products. But it is also a platform for exchanging ideas and for cultures to meet.”

The designer explained that rather than create new work for the event, the studio wanted to engage visitors in its fundamental ideas. In line with this, the books will be donated to design schools and the seating and tables will be re-sold at local gallery Nordiska Galleriet after the fair.

The installation was cloaked in a Maharam textile

“We wanted to do something that wasn’t just about displaying our own previous work, but rather offer something in line with our way of thinking and working that is also relevant for others,” added Trimarchi.

“The installation is a great example of how you can create a beautiful, temporary construction and experience, using minimal resources,” said Stockholm Furniture Fair director Hanna Nova Beatrice.

Books on ecology, sustainability and ecosystems were placed on the tables

Two books on display that the designer suggested everyone should read were Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene by Donna Haraway and The Life of Plants: A Metaphysics of Mexture by Emanuele Coccia.

Formafantasma and Artek previously presented an exhibition at Helsinki Design Museum that delved into their mutual interest in Finnish forestry. Elsewhere at the furniture fair, Swedish design studio Folkform exhibited furniture pieces made using Masonite hardboard sourced from a factory that closed down over a decade ago.

The images are courtesy of Formafantasma. 

Stockholm Design Week took place in Stockholm from 5-11 February. See Dezeen Events Guide‘s Stockholm Design Week 2024 guide for information about exhibitions and events that took place throughout the week.

The post Formafantasma cloaks Stockholm Design Week installation in dusty pink Maharam curtain appeared first on Dezeen.

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