Botanica, by Studio Formafantasma, is the most captivating material project we've seen in a while, exploring the world of historical and natural plastics. The Italian foundation Plart, dedicated to the research, recovery and innovation in the plastic arts, invited the dup to explore polymeric materials. Simone Farresin walks us through a small part of the series below.
Instead of reworking the familiar petroleum-based substances we all associate with the word "plastic," the studio has instead stepped way back, looking at the origins of botany, observing that the discipline arose around the human search for identifiable plants with edible, medicinal or craft-based purposes. The Botanica collection is designed as though petroleum-based plastics were never discovered, and investigates the "unexpected textures, feelings and technical possibilities offered by natural polymers extracted from plants or animal-derivatives."
The vases, tables, surfaces and lamps in this collection were formed from a combination of rosin, dammar, copal, rubber, shellac and bois durci (a combination of sawdust, animal blood and albumen).
For the studio, the project calls for a movement to a new "post-oil era," where consumers no longer rely on industry to provide plasticity in artifacts of everyday life.
Lisa is dedicated to promoting the American contemporary design scene. She keeps herself busy as the co-founder of the Object Design League, an association of independent designers in Chicago, and design practice Smith&Linder, both co-founded with Caroline Linder. She also teaches foundation research studios at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.