Formafantasma's Prada Frames symposium to contemplate forest ecologies in Milan

At the National Braidense Library in tandem with Milan Design Week 2022, the event will examine links between design, the built environment, and nature over three days of talks.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : May 27, 2022

Described as a "moment of collective reflection", investigating the complex links between design, the built environment and nature, Prada Frames is an upcoming multidisciplinary symposium curated by Formafantasma for the Italian luxury design house Prada, at the National Braidense Library in Milan, Italy. Set to take place between June 6-8 during Milan Design Week 2022, in the Brera Design District, the event brings together a host of distinguished speakers from an assortment of disciplines to ruminate on forest ecosystems, their relationships with the timber industry, and the potential role of design in reconfiguring the dynamics between them. Over three days of talks, running in parallel to the festivities of Salone del Mobile.Milano, the conference will examine and correlate innovative thoughts while presenting an exceptional wealth of knowledge on the topics at hand.

The symposium will investigate the links between design, the built environment, and nature | Formafantasma Prada Frames symposium | Formafantasma x Prada | STIRworld
The symposium will investigate the links between design, the built environment, and nature Image: Courtesy of Formafantasma

Based in Rotterdam and Milan, Formafantasma is a research and design studio founded by Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi back in 2009, which strives to facilitate a deeper understanding of both the natural world and the built environment. Working on commercial ventures and more autonomous design projects, the studio's output is typified by meticulous attention to context, process, and detail, unified by a coherent visual vocabulary.

Curated by Formafantasma, the event will bring a host of esteemed speakers together for three days of talks| Formafantasma Prada Frames symposium | Formafantasma x Prada | STIRworld
Curated by Formafantasma, the event will bring a host of esteemed speakers together for three days of talks Image: Courtesy of Formafantasma

In this regard, the perspectives to be presented at Prada Frames will straddle the boundaries between science, architecture, design, art, activism, anthropology, and law, bringing together a plethora of esteemed professionals from each of these fields. The roster of speakers contains names such as Paola Antonelli, Aric Chen, Alice Rawsthorn, Stefano Boeri, Paulo Tavares, Ursula Biemann, Cave Bureau, Sissel Tolaas, Anna Tsing, David Monacchi, Beatrice Leanza, Marianne Goebl, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Amitav Ghosh, Eyal Weizman, and Rebecca Lewin as well as Formafantasma themselves. Combining the educational, scientific, and informative, the symposium expands upon Formafantasma’s proclivity towards investigating the historical, political, and social implications of design.

Over six sessions, with two occurring each day, the symposium aims to explore relationships between forests and the timber industry, and the role of design in reconfiguring the dynamics between them | Formafantasma Prada Frames symposium | Formafantasma x Prada | STIRworld
Over six sessions, with two occurring each day, the symposium aims to explore relationships between forests and the timber industry, and the role of design in reconfiguring the dynamics between them Image: Courtesy of Formafantasma

Speaking with STIR, Farresin elaborates on Formafantasma’s role in the conference: “In Milan we have several presentations. The one that at the moment is making us most concerned is the project we are doing for Prada. It’s three days of conferences at the Braidense National Library, a historic library in the city. It’ll be three days about ecology, so we have invited 30 speakers from all over the world to speak about forests." He adds, "We did an exhibition called Cambio at the Serpentine Gallery two years ago along a similar theme and thought that we would take some of the knowledge we acquired there for the symposium."

The roster of speakers includes Paola Antonelli, Aric Chen, Alice Rawsthorn, Stefano Boeri, Paulo Tavares, Ursula Biemann, and Cave Bureau, among many others | Formafantasma Prada Frames symposium | Formafantasma x Prada | STIRworld
The roster of speakers includes Paola Antonelli, Aric Chen, Alice Rawsthorn, Stefano Boeri, Paulo Tavares, Ursula Biemann, and Cave Bureau, among many othersImage: Courtesy of Formafantasma

The three-day event will consist of a series of six sessions, with two occurring every day - each assigned a unique theme tying it to the overarching narrative of the symposium, which will be explored through readings, debates, conversations, and video projections. 'Contextualising' - the first among them, will explore the idea of the forest as a sentient, living being while shedding light on how architecture can be utilised as a forensic tool. The next talk, 'Narrating', will present a historical overview of humanity’s ties to forests and timber, as well as the intricacies of illuminating the grave threat of the climate crisis today. 'Designing' is the theme of the third session, which is set to reveal the work of architects, curators, and design students attempting to redefine the bonds between materials and ecosystems.

Each session has been assigned a unique theme, tying it to the overarching topic of the symposium | Formafantasma Prada Frames symposium | Formafantasma x Prada | STIRworld
Each session has been assigned a unique theme, tying it to the overarching topic of the symposium Image: Courtesy of Formafantasma

Session four, titled 'Sensing', has been portrayed as a dive into four different sensory mediums used to experience forests, as well as a study on the anatomy of wood, and the complexities of designing for more-than-human species. The fifth and sixth talks have been themed as 'Governing' and 'Inhabiting' respectively. While the former will investigate the potential of wood as a means of carbon storage, its role in offsetting emissions, and the governance of natural ecosystems, the latter is set to expound on forestal indigenous knowledge, 'feral dynamics', as well as different modes of inhabiting and sourcing resources from forests.

he event expands upon Cambio, Formafantasma's earlier exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery| Formafantasma Prada Frames symposium | Formafantasma x Prada | STIRworld
The event expands upon Cambio, Formafantasma's earlier exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery Image: Courtesy of Formafantasma

Additionally, Farresin talks about the other initiatives Formafantasma is conducting for Milan Design Week, “We are doing launches of products for Cassina and Ginori and a partnership to launch a new series of objects and vessels for them along with some taps for Quadro, who are an Italian company that deals in bathroom accessories. We are also presenting a cinema space where we will install some sofas by Mario Bellini. Last but not the least, we are launching a collection of new lighting for Maison Matisse."

The talks will feature perspectives from a diverse variety of fields ranging from design, science, activism, law, and art| Formafantasma Prada Frames symposium | Formafantasma x Prada | STIRworld
The talks will feature perspectives from a diverse variety of fields ranging from design, science, activism, law, and art Image: Courtesy of Formafantasma

Registration for the event is set to open here on May 28 and is subject to availability.

STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.

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