Botanica by Formafantasma
Published on March 25, 2012
Botany, as a discipline, began with early human efforts to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest sciences. More then two centuries ago plants started to be categorized also for their secretions, a possible source of material. The objects displayed in the Botanica collection are designed as if the oil- based era, in which we are living, never took place. Almost as if historians, Studio Formafantasma investigated the pre-Bakelite period, discovering unexpected textures, feelings and technical possibilities offered by natural polymers extracted from plants or animal-derivatives. The designers researched and hunted for information, digging into the 18th and 19th centuries, when scientists began perimenting draining plants and animals in search for plasticity. Rosin, Dammar, Copal (a sub-fossil state of amber), Natural Rubber, Shellac (a polymer extracted from insect excrement that colonize trees) and Bois Durci (a 19th century material composed of wood dust and animal blood), are amongst others, materials investigated by the studio.
The organic details and plant-like forms of the pieces underline the vegetal and animal origins of the resins, while the palette of colours is based on natural amber tones in combination with traditional materials such as wood, ceramic and metal. The natural textures and honey-like colours of the resins evoke the memory of 20th century bakelite objects, however, the finish and details are somewhat archaic yet contemporary. In Botanica, plastics are used as precious details, in an attempt to develop a new post-industrial aesthetic. Today, we can be said to be moving towards a new post-oil era, the pre-oil era is starting to be globally re discovered in search for alternatives. Online blogs and archives are constantly collating and updating information challenging consumers to produce their own plastics, while an American University is currently importing Russian Dandelion flowers, reigniting the lost tradition of extracting rubber from the plants roots. In line with this attitude, Studio Formafantasma looks to the past as a source of inspiration, while delivering a body of work with a contemporary
twist. With Botanica, Studio Formafantasma offers a new perspective on plasticity, reinterpreting centuries old technology lost beneath the impeccable surface of mass production.