Formafantasma – an Italian design studio led by Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin – respond to the challenge of climate change by researching old technologies, which may have something to teach us.

At Chatsworth, visitors see one of their earliest projects focusing on the all-but-forgotten craft of charcoal burning. Formafantasma’s Charcoal series draws on the tension between the negative image of charcoal – its connections to pollution and destruction – and its positive potential in contexts like water filtration.

Made in collaboration with Swiss charcoal burner Doris Wicki – one of the last individuals dedicated to the tradition of producing charcoal by the slow burning of wood – along with glass blowers and wood carvers, the series features carbon filter variations and glass vessels.

The works are presented in the Green Satin Room alongside paintings of historic views of Chatsworth, where charcoal was once an important fuel source. This juxtaposition draws parallels across moments in the landscape and the materials and tools that can be wrought from it.

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Image of Studio Formafantasma, courtesy of Friedman Benda and Formafantasma, photography by Simon

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