1858 is a minimal furniture collection designed by Amsterdam-based studio FormaFantasma for Giustini / Stagetti. Conceived as display furniture for the exhibition Cambio at Serpentine Galleries1 in London, the collection of pieces ‘1858’ is made from spruce sourced from the Val di Fiemme in Northern Italy. The timber was taken from a single tree among fourteen million that were felled by Storm Vaia over the course of a few days in October 2018. 1858 is the year in which the tree developed its first ring. The removal of the trunks from the forest is vital in order to avoid the release of CO2 that occurs naturally when the timber begins to decay. If left, the extraordinary number of fallen trees can cause phyto – sanitary problems for the remaining forest.
On a formal level, the furniture is designed to function as tables, bookshelves, chairs and benches rather than abstract exhibition displays. Resisting the traditional ephemerality of exhibition furniture, these pieces outlive the exhibition, and can be translated to other spaces, public or private, for years to come. Spruce is known to be a soft wood, rarely used in furniture. In order to make them more long lasting, the objects have been lacquered with a synthetic resin used in musical instruments. Its translucent finish allows the grain of the wood to remain visible while sealing the surface.
Photography by Omar Golli