formafantasma’s reading room is a reflection on ecology at stockholm design week

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inside the contemplative reading room by formafantasma

 

Research-based design studio Formafantasma landed in Stockholm’s 2024 Furniture Fair as a Guest of Honor, adorning the entrance hall with a sweeping installation dubbed Reading Room. Expanding into a 61-meter elliptical space, with 350 meters of textile hung as a four-meter-high pink curtain, the project welcomes visitors into a contemplative space furnished by Artek. The bright and light setting encourages one to sit for a moment, read, reflect, and immerse themselves in the ideas that have shaped Forma Fantasma’s work and vision — namely, using design as an agent for social and ecological change. ‘I want a place where people can sit down and expand their thoughts and see things they probably haven’t seen before. It’s a way to bring people out of what they think design is,’ the studio’s co-founder Andrea Trimachi tells designboom. He even highlights that, for once, it is not products that take center stage at a fair but rather transformative knowledge, ideas, and visions for the future.

formafantasma reading room
image courtesy Maharam

 

 

spotlighting the ecological impact of design through wood

 

Since its inception in 2009, Formafantasma has made it its mission to rethink and challenge our current understanding of materiality of how things are produced and reused. But unlike mainstream design thinking, the starting point was never sustainability but ecology. ‘We talk about ecology because it is about the environment. It is about being connected to a specific context. Sustainability implies that you are sustaining something and not actually changing it. It is all too much connected to the economic system in which we live. Ecology is different; it’s science. It implies a complete restructuring of thinking around different actions,’ Andrea shares with us. In light of that, the Reading Room reflects on the studio’s ecological mindset, aiming to encourage an engagement with nature on a systemic level rather than just focusing on products. He emphasizes the importance of people connecting to the design, all while understanding its source materials, possibilities, and problems. 

formafantasma reading room
the Reading Room comprises 350 meters of pink textile hung as a curtain | image courtesy Maharam

 

 

Crossing the pink saturated Gemma textile by Sander Lak from Maharam, visitors of the Stockholm Furniture Fair discover wooden seating and tables from the Artek Forest Collection. The furniture is created jointly with Formafantasma to pursue reduced environmental impact by embracing wood’s natural variation including knots, insect trails, and color shifts, thus utilizing more of each tree. On the tables, Reading Room by Formafantasma offers a curated selection of books about sustainability, ecology and ecosystems, especially forests. An LED wall even displays two video works by Formafantasma. from its Project Cambio, highlight ongoing research that includes the extraction, production, and distribution of wood products. Completing the setting are a series of suspending lighting from Flos.

formafantasma reading room
Formafantasma co-founder, Andrea Trimarchi inside the Reading Room | image © designboom

 

 

what happens next: circularity at stockholm furniture fair

 

In line with Formatantasma’s ecological thinking around design, the Reading Room itself is created with as much thought and care put into what will happen to it afterward as to how it has fulfilled its purpose during this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair. Following the week-long event, the books will be donated to design schools, including Stockholm University of the Arts and Beckmans College of Design. The wooden Artek seating and tables, on the other hand, will be resold as signed pieces at Nordiska Galleriet. ‘The exhibition speak about circularity in its own small way,’ concludes Andrea. 

formafantasma's reading room invites reflections on ecology at stockholm design week
wooden tables and stools by Artek, with books about ecology, forests, and ecosystems | image courtesy Maharam

formafantasma's reading room invites reflections on ecology at stockholm design week
formafantasma’s work invites contemplation and new ways of thinking | image courtesy Maharam

formafantasma's reading room invites reflections on ecology at stockholm design week
all objects, including books, will be donated or resold by Formafantasma | image courtesy Maharam

formafantasma's reading room invites reflections on ecology at stockholm design week
image © designboom

formafantasma's reading room invites reflections on ecology at stockholm design week
LED wall with two videos playing in loop inside the Reading Room | image © designboom

 

 

project info:

 

name: Reading Room

designer: Formafantasma (here) | @formafantasma

pink curtain textile: Maharam

wooden furniture: Artek 

lighting: Flos

program: Stockholm Furniture Fair 2024 | @sthlmfurnfair


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