Studio Formafantasma
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A delightful survey of the Dutch studio's body of work

“Go home with the idea, not the object!” The Studio Formafantasma design duo could not have uttered a more fitting statement for their current exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. Titled Prima Materia, the show surveys the plenteous work of Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin.

Indeed, in the span of their relatively short career, the pair behind Studio Formafantasma has amassed an impressive number of projects and collections – collections that attract clients and buyers from around the world. Rather than purely functional objects, their work frequently skips between art and design, occasionally dipping into the world of science. In primarily using natural materials and traditional techniques, the studio rediscovers and reinvents material designs through new uses and new materials.

Prima Materia unfolds this intricate process that transforms ordinary materials into extraordinary works. The exhibit takes visitors through an almost mundane, yet complete fantastic, world of objects that are simply and cleanly displayed on wooden tables. Stools made from fish leather and sea sponges, cow bladder lights and table settings made from the objects that they are meant to contain (flour, cocoa, coffee).

In the end, Studio Formafantasma is not offering us functional objects but rather a glimpse at a creative freedom that is vaguely DIY. You don’t leave the exhibit with a new must-have object, you leave with a vague sense of inspiration that only a small brush with ingenuity can provide.