Studio Furthermore are just about to open their much anticipated solo exhibition at London’s acclaimed Aram gallery. Studio Furthermore are Bulgarian born Marina Dragomirova with whom we have collaborated since 2011 on a number of exhibitions, workshops and other initiatives, and Iain Howlett her partner since 2012.
Studio Furthermore works with a craft-centric design method informed by technological research, science and culture to create engaging projects such as beautiful lights, furniture and accessories. They work internationally with renown design gallery Nilufar in Milan as well as progressive design brands including Pulpo. Their ceramic work is included in the permanent collection of the Vitra Design Museum.
We caught up with them a day before the launch of the REPLICA show at Aram. The exhibition is a collection of experimental furniture, lighting and objects made using unique methods developed by Marina and Iain, which they refer to as the ‘lost foam’ processes.
What do you need in order to be creative?
Vision, perseverance and critical thinking.
How did the idea about REPLICA come about – what was the initial visual spark for such a range?
It did not start with a visual reference. It actually started with research. Later on a lot of choices had to be done on the way to the final composition.
It did not start with a visual reference as such but as with all of our work we started with an open idea and lots of research. Later on we definitely gained lots of inspiration from looking at natural rock formations and geology during a trip to Iceland.
What was the technical process of reaching such sublime beauty and stillness?
There are three main processes involved in Replica, foam cutting, terracotta work and and aluminium “lost foam”.
What was the initial idea and how did it evolve with time? Why the name Replica – replica of what?
It started with small vessels the collection Tekites. They are made from porcelain in three colours; white, blue and black.The project evolved out of our porcelain project Tektites. We wanted to make larger scale items with ceramic and see if we could adapt the process to aluminium. The way the processes work mean that you start with a foam “original” which gets burnt away. It is left with a “replica” in metal or ceramic. We found it interesting that the value is in the replica and the original is lost forever.
For REPLICA we continue expanding the shapes. Also we introduced the casting process which allow us to do furniture scale objects. We think the perfect place for them would be outdoor.
Describe the REPLICA objects in three words…
Lost foam terracotta.
Do you have an ethos or philosophy that you have put into the REPLICA objects?
When produced faithfully, a replica or forgery is near indistinguishable from an original work. We are all familiar with tales of elusive art forgers working from the shadows to create paintings or sculptures so true as to leave the most discerning of experts non the wiser. From the designers perspective however, the act of replication provides a more noble avenue of possibilities. Engaging in various methods of replication, Studio Furthermore have turned the notion of replica on its head.
What’s Studio Furthermore greatest asset and strength?
Right now the kiln is doing our work and keeping us warm. Strength will be playfulness.
REPLICA runs until 20th January 2018. More words on the show below:
Including a standing light, mirror, pots and tables, the collection is made with cast ceramic and aluminium alloy. Each ceramic part is carefully handcrafted out of foam, which during the process, burns away in the kiln leaving behind a one-of-a-kind terracotta copy, or replica. For the alloy process, the foam original is entombed in sand. Molten alloy is poured onto the foam original which in turn vaporises, leaving behind a metallic copy. In each case an original work is sacrificed and what remains is a replica. Developing this body of work, Studio Furthermore searched for inspiration in the rocks, earth and mineral ores of Iceland: a shifting landscape of geological processes observable in foamy lava rocks, cooled magma debris, and soils rich in minerals. Also displayed will be series of tests and experiments that bear strong resemblance to these collected samples.