Milan Furniture Fair 2010: Autarchy by Studio Formafantasma

autarchy by studio formafantasma

Image by Studio Formafantasma

For a real touch of Italy, go and visit the installation "Autarchy" by Studio Formafantasma at this week's Furniture Fair in Milan. The project celebrates an autonomous way of producing goods, using bio-materials. It is a fresh take on crafts and design, tradition and the uncomplicated in everyday life. This show definitely stands in contrast to most of the other stuff we see at the Salone in Milan this week.Autarchy makes us reflect about everyday tools we use and invites us to grow and make them ourselves. The designers suggest an alternative way of making things, a bit like back in the old days, where knowledge is passed on to find accessible and sustainable solutions.

The two Italian designers who are based in the Netherlands, explain:

Autarchy outlines a hypothetical scenario where a community is embracing a serene and self inflicted embargo where nature is personally cultivated, harvested and processed, to feed and make tools to serve human necessities.

The installation shows beautifully-shaped objects in earthly colours: brooms, vessels and lamps in different colours obtained by natural ingredients such as vegetables, spices and roots that are dried, boiled or filtered for their natural dyes. In a clever and precise way, eggs are used as paint to add detail on the dry surface of the bowls. The bowls and lamps are made of 70% flour, 20% agricultural waste, and 10% natural limestone, and are naturally desiccated or baked at low temperature. The result: minimum embodied energy and fully renewable and biodegradable products.

We could not refrain from marveling at the beautiful craftsmanship and design that has gone into making the straw-brooms, from the cereal sorghum. For this project, Studio Formafantasma invited the Italian broom maker Giuseppe Brunello and the renowned French bakery Poilane to participate. What better than a cereal can connect these people and result in a perfect production process without generating any waste.

We like the open-sourceness of this project. Information and process are shared in the exhibition and you can see un-finished pieces that illustrate the making off; another rare thing at today's design shows.

Visit Studio Formafantasma in Milan, April 14-19 2010:
Autarchy at Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Via Matteo Bandello 14
Moulding Tradition at Design Academy Eindhoven/Ten Small Atlases, Via Ventura 6.
::Studio Formafantasma
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