Craftica by Formafantasma

Leather. Initial connotations withstanding (BDSM, mutton-dressed-as-lamb trousers, yuppy furniture, horses et al), the material is having something of a resurgence lately, and is now to be celebrated in a new exhibition at London’s Gallery Libby Sellers, Craftica by Formafantasma.

Perch stool: Vegetal tanned perch skin, lime wood, brass label. Perch fish hot water bottle: Vegetal tanned perch skin, glass, brass

Source: Works courtesy Gallery Libby Sellers. Image by Luisa Zanzani.

Perch stool: Vegetal tanned perch skin, lime wood, brass label.Perch fish hot water bottle: Vegetal tanned perch skin, glass, brass

The show will present the European debut of Italian design duo Formafantasma’s Craftica series,  conceived in collaboration with luxury goods house Fendi for Design Miami/Basel 2012, which the gallery describes as ‘a visual and tactile investigation into the diversity and origins of leather.’

Wolffish hot water bag: Vegetal tanned wolffish skin, glass, brass.

Source: o

Wolffish hot water bag: Vegetal tanned wolffish skin, glass, brass.

Among the pieces on display at the exhibition, which opens next month, will be handmade stools, lights, vessels and tools.

Bone Jar: Mouth blown glass on a cow bone, cow leather.

Source: Works courtesy Gallery Libby Sellers. Image by Luisa Zanzani.

Bone Jar: Mouth blown glass on a cow bone, cow leather.

Rather than using leather simply as a material, all the pieces are inspired by its tactile qualities, history and symbolic connotations.

Bells-lights: Discarded Fendi leather, glass, leather-covered hooks, leather-covered electric wire.

Source: Works courtesy Gallery Libby Sellers. Image by Luisa Zanzani.

Bells-lights: Discarded Fendi leather, glass, leather-covered hooks, leather-covered electric wire.

Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi, Formafantasma co-founders, say, ‘[Leather] represents the complex relationship between humans and nature. Leather has the ability to evoke almost ancestral memories of when nature was hunted to produce food, tools and protection for the body.

‘Searching underneath and above the sea, from the vegetal to the animal world, the installation offers a holistic view on leather as a material.’

Bells-lights: Discarded Fendi leather, glass, leather-covered hooks, leather-covered electric wire.

Source: Works courtesy Gallery Libby Sellers. Image by Luisa Zanzani.

Bells-lights: Discarded Fendi leather, glass, leather-covered hooks, leather-covered electric wire.

Indeed, as a sum of its parts, the series sounds perhaps less than attractive. As well as traditional leather, the pieces are created from some rather primitive components including  vegetal dried fish skins (sourced from a food factory in Iceland), oxidized metal, glass, wood and other natural materials such as bones, shells and cow bladders.

From left to right:Wolffish-pig stool, Studs stool, Salmon stool

Source: Works courtesy Gallery Libby Sellers. Image by Luisa Zanzani.

From left to right:Wolffish-pig stool, Studs stool, Salmon stool

Alongside these rather experimental pieces, the exhibition will also include a series of illustrations on parchment by Studio Formafantasma designer Francesco Zorzi, showing a visual history of leather’s usages.

Perch stool: Vegetal tanned perch skin, lime wood, brass label. Perch fish hot water bottle: Vegetal tanned perch skin, glass, brass

Source: Works courtesy Gallery Libby Sellers. Image by Luisa Zanzani.

Drawings on parchment (hairless goat skin) in collaboration with Francesco Zorzi.

Craftica by Formafantasma runs from 1 – 28 February at Gallery Libby Sellers, 41-42 Berners Street, London W1

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