For the now starting second edition of the Studio Visit project, this year the Italian designer duo Formafantasma addresses the genius of Pier Luigi Nervi.
Thus, the consolidated collaboration between MAXXI and Alcantara, launched in 2011, continues: a shared and ongoing path of research, experimentation, dialogue with creativity and innovation, strongly advocated by Andrea Boragno, President and CEO of Alcantara, Giovanna Melandri, President of MAXXI Foundation and Margherita Guccione, Director of MAXXI Architecture.
After creating 6 collective exhibitions involving more than 30 among designers and national and international studios, the Alcantara – MAXXI project became monographic and personal last year with Studio Visit. For each edition, an internationally famous designer or studio is invited to conceptualise a space that gives the artist’s personal interpretation of the work of one of the masters of the permanent collection within the National Museum of 21st Century Arts. A true “Studio”, that can be visited in its double meaning: the physical space, as a workspace to spend the time necessary for research, and the “studio” as an activity of knowledge and elaboration.
The only common denominator of these quite different projects in terms of execution and thematic path is Alcantara®, a malleable material ready to give form to the most challenging visions.
In 2018, Nanda Vigo with Arch-Arcology paid homage to visionary architect Paolo Soleri, while this year, international design studio Formafantasma was chosen. The studio is made up of Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, who perceive their role as a bridge between craft, industry, object and user and try to stimulate a more critical and conceptual reflection on design through their work. After consulting the MAXXI Architecture archives, Trimarchi and Farresin decided to address the genius of Pier Luigi Nervi by featuring the project Nervi in the making, curated by Domitilla Dardi, design curator of MAXXI.
“Working with Studio Formafantasma – narrates Domitilla Dardi – always means following a research work that progresses by mixing scientific knowledge and design instinct. Never before as in this project on Nervi have their two souls been revealed so clearly: the passion of researchers who reinterpret the work created at the time by a great scholar of materials like Nervi, and the design ability to bring these reflections in their own work.”
The two designers approached the archive of the undisputed master of ferro-cemento (ferrocement) design to fully understand his work on the material, discovering unprecedented and unexpected analogies with an apparently quite different material such as Alcantara.
Versatile, functional, ideal for many applications and interpretations, able to collaborate with other materials: these are characteristics that well describe the qualities of the concrete, with which Nervi was a pioneer and unmatchable experimenter in the post-war period, but which are also the properties of Alcantara, a material created to design another future, that of our present.
“Structure – Formafantasma explain – is the key word and the most important common element between the two materials. With his extensive research, involving extensive trials, tests and calculations, Nervi demonstrated the extraordinary structures that could be achieved with concrete. It is thanks to his farsighted work that Italy was built over the last sixty years. We approached Alcantara with a similar spirit and studied its wide-ranging application potentials. But our main focus was on what makes it a sui generis material, governed by a sort of artificial intelligence that makes it incredibly versatile.”
The result is an installation that recreates an environment, physical and mental at the same time, like a puzzle that communicates the importance that a material can have in the work of a designer.
With Formafantasma. Nervi in the making renews the association between the first Italian institution dedicated to contemporary creativity and the company, known all over the world for its unique technology, that has made a constant dialogue between creative vanguards an essential point of its mission.
A journey of common research and experimentation that sees MAXXI and Alcantara together again on the road to cultural innovation.
Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin (Formafantasma) are an Italian designers duo based in Amsterdam. They studied at ISIA in Florence, and then at the Design Academy of Eindhoven, where they currently teach. They are at the head of the MADE Program in Siracusa.
Nominated among the 20 best international design studios, their works are in the permanent collection of the MoMA in New York, and have been exhibited in major international museums, among which is the MAXXI, for the occasion of the research Energy show in 2014.