“Formafantasma. Nervi in the making” at MAXXI Rome

Research and experimentation are the keywords in the consolidated partnership between MAXXI and Alcantara that, born in 2011, was renewed in terms of its contents last year. The exhibitions are now monographic and each year an established designer is invited to interpret the MAXXI collections.


Formafantasma, Nervi on the making, Progetto Alcantara © Formafantasma


In 2019 it is the turn of Formafantasma, a studio composed of an Italian design duo based in Amsterdam, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin. Named among the 20 best international design studios, their work has been exhibited in leading museums around the world and features in the MoMA collections in New York. For MAXXI, Formafantasma is preparing a space inspired by Pier Luigi Nervi that visitors may enter and move around, a place in which the result of their interpretation of the museum collection can be displayed.


Practical Information

“Formafantasma. Nervi in the making”
15 March – 14 April, 2019
MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts
Via Guido Reni 4A , Roma


The installation will be acquired for the MAXXI collection. Launch of the second edition of the Studio Visit project, which this year sees the Italian designer duo Formafantasma confront the genius of Pier Luigi Nervi. Thus continues the consolidated collaboration between MAXXI and Alcantara, started in 2011: a shared and continuous path of research, experimentation, dialogue with creativity, innovation, strongly supported by Andrea Boragno, President and CEO of Alcantara, Giovanna Melandri, President of MAXXI Foundation and Margherita Guccione, Director of MAXXI Architettura. After making six group exhibitions they have involving over thirty designers and national and international studios, the Alcantara Project – MAXXI with the Studio Visit format has become monographic and personal since last year.


Formafantasma, Nervi on the making, Progetto Alcantara © Formafantasma

Formafantasma, Nervi on the making © Progetto Alcantara


For each edition, an internationally renowned designer or studio is invited to design, within the National Museum of XXI Century Arts, a space that returns his personal interpretation of the work of one of the masters of the Collection. A real “Study”, therefore, that can be visited in its double meaning: the physical space, as a workplace where to spend the time necessary for research, and the study understood as an activity of knowledge and study. The only common denominator of these projects, which are always different in their construction and theme, is Alcantara®, a ductile material ready to give shape to the most challenging visions.


Formafantasma, Ore Streams, Cubicle 2, 2018. Photo Credit: Ikon

Formafantasma, De Natura Fossilium, Vase, 2014 Photo Credit: Luisa Zanzani


If in 2018 Nanda Vigo with Arch-Arcology paid tribute to the visionary architect Paolo Soleri, this year the international design studio Formafantasma was chosen, composed by Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, who conceive their role as a bridge between craftsmanship, industry, object and user and try to stimulate through their work a more critical and conceptual reflection on design. After consulting the archives of MAXXI Architettura, Trimarchi and Farresin decided to confront the work Pier Luigi Nervi, presenting the Nervi project in the making, curated by Domitilla Dardi, curator for the design of MAXXI.


Formafantasma, Nervi on the making, Progetto Alcantara © Formafantasma

Formafantasma, Nervi on the making, Progetto Alcantara © Formafantasma


“Working with Studio Formafantasma – says Domitilla Dardi – always means following a research work that proceeds by mixing scientific knowledge and design instinct. These two souls never emerged as clear in this project on Nervi: the passion of researchers who reread the work done at the time by a great scholar of materials like Nervi and the design ability to bring these reflections into their own work. ”


Formafantasma, Nervi on the making, Progetto Alcantara © Formafantasma

Formafantasma. Spazio Krizia. Salone del Mobile 2017. Foto ©Masiar Pasquali


The two designers have approached the archives of the undisputed master in the design of iron-concrete to fully understand his work on the subject, discovering new and unexpected analogies with an apparently very different material like the Alcantara. Versatile, functional, suitable for many applications and interpretations, capable of collaborating with other materials: these are characteristics that can well describe the qualities of cement, of which Nervi was a pioneer and unparalleled experimenter in the post-war period, but are also qualities of the Alcantara, a material born to design another future, that of our contemporary present.


Formafantasma, Botanica, 2011 © Formafantasma

Formafantasma, Nervi on the making, Progetto Alcantara © Formafantasma


“Structure – explain the Formafantasma – is the key word that more than any other combines the two materials. Nervi demonstrated with impressive research, made up of tests, tests and calculations, the achievements of which cement could be a carrier. Thanks to his far-sighted work our country has been built over the last sixty years. We have entered into the Alcantara with a similar spirit and have studied its vast potential for application. But above all we have experienced what makes it a unique material of its kind, governed by a sort of artificial intelligence that makes it incredibly flexible ”.


News source: MAXXI
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