Historically, when Sicily’s lively volcanoes Etna and Stromboli erupted, craftsmen would channel off the flowing lava and mould it into pieces of furniture and sculpture. Now the tradition has somewhat fallen by the wayside, with the volcanic rock largely used for generic tourists trinkets, rather than inspiring works of art. When Etna erupted again in November last year, Eindhoven-based Italian designers Studio Formafantasma sought to change this state of affairs.
Drawing on their masters thesis about traditional Sicilian folk craft penned while still students at Design Academy Eindhoven, Studio Formafantasma began a lengthy research project into just what they could create by melting, casting, carving, blowing, milling and even weaving the emerging lava. The result is De Natura Fossilium, a geometric collection of stools, tables and a clock produced in collaboration with Gallery Libby Sellers and shown as part of last week’s furniture fair in Milan. Each piece was created from hewn and manipulated volcanic basalt, hand-blown glass (formed by melting down rocks from Mount Etna) and lava sand collected from Stromboli. “Mount Etna is a mine without miners,” say the duo. “It is excavating itself to expose its raw materials.”