The Italian designer duo Formafantasma, with the Supporting Partnership of Flos, have inaugurated their exhibition “Cambio” at the Serpentine Galleries, which opened on March 4th 2020. Their research is an urge to explore new paths of sustainable design
Premiered by C41
Supporting Sponsor Flos
Creative Director and Project Supervisor Leone Balduzzi
JVC Shooting and Editing Vittoria Elena Simone
Bolex Shooting and Production Coordinator Carlo Banfi
Executive Producers Barbara Guieu, Leone Balduzzi, Luca A. Caizzi
DP Francesca Pavoni
Cambio (from the medieval Latin cambium, “change, exchange”) is an ongoing investigation conducted into the extraction, production and distribution of wood products. This exhibition aims to call into question the role that design can play in translating emerging environmental awareness into informed, collaborative responses.
We chose Val di Fiemme for many reasons. The main one is the fact that in October 2018 there was a huge storm that downed more than fourteen million trees in a single night.
It was a very rare and severe event, that almost never happens in Europe. Witnessing what happened and being, as we are, deeply conscious that it happened because of human actions, it is shocking because you physically, visually, and emotionally realise what living on a planet that is so fragile means.
We were not just interested in the material itself, but we were rather interested in the living forms from where it was extracted, because they raise different ethical questions and let us approach more specifically our idea of ecology.
Designers could make more contextual choices and be less linked to aesthetics, when they choose materials.
What we want to say is that we chose this wood for the setting of the exhibition not because of its particular technical qualities. For us, using that material was more relevant since it allowed us to talk about what happened and also because there is an urge to remove the fallen trees from that forest before they rot and contaminate the rest of it.
There was also a form of beauty in the disaster. The more the days passed, the further we went into the valley, the more we realised the horror. This is the most impactful experience we have had since we started being designers.
One of the most important parts of Cambio is the research. We went through a long process from the studio that lasted about six to eight months in which we read a lot and consulted various archives.
The Serpentine Galleries has supported us a lot. Hans Ulrich Obrist asked us to have a speech at Serpentine which would become a manifesto of our way of seeing discipline.
The exhibition has a physical part but for the first time we have been able to explore different media, so the videos were very important to us.
The green screen technology was developed, as every technology, from a deeply human characteristic. Technologies are always designed on the basis of human characteristics.
Green screen technique is developed on the basis that human eyes can clearly identify shapes and colours when they are over a green background. This happens because on the evolutionary scale we had to develop the ability to see prey and predators in the forest.