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Formafantasma: From Then On

London's Established & Sons taps the Italian duo to create a site-specific installation reflecting on the various passages of time

by Karen Day
on 17 September 2014

One of the more cleverly named design studios, London's Established & Sons has lived up to its moniker over the years, and 2015 will mark the progressive company's 10-year anniversary. To celebrate the indelible impact they've had on the industry—which is in large part due to the intelligent, experimental nature of founding partners Sebastian Wrong, Tamara Caspersz, Alasdhair Willis, Mark Holmes and Angad Paul (the only remaining founder)—Established & Sons asked Netherlands-based, Italian design duo Formafantasma to create a site-specific installation that reflects upon the notion of time.

"From Then On" consists of four functional sculptures that keep track of time in various increments, and through various materials. Formafantasma's Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin tells us that CEO Maurizio Mussati gave them carte blanche, and the most difficult challenge was to produce such technical manufacturing feats in a short amount of time. Thanks to the British outfit's longstanding manufacturing prowess (and relationship with Italian producer Tor Art), the exhibition is nothing short of impressive in scale and craftsmanship, while simultaneously meditative and engaging in concept.

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In the center of the vault-like room is a brass pendulum, which swings back and forth every second. This is meant to symbolize our fight against time, as the brass base would naturally oxidize over time yet the polishing brush at the bottom of the pendulum keeps that process from occurring. Nearby stands two connected saxophones, which emit a sound every 15 minutes like a classic horological sentinel. "This is our town church bell," Trimarchi explains.


A massive slate of round Carrera marble represents time as a circular motion. The handless clock is comprised of two concentric circles, and when the veins in the marble match up, one hour has passed by.

An elegant fan clock in another part of the room expresses time as a repetitive pattern. Over the course of five minutes, the shade circumnavigating the brass center playfully unfolds and folds back up again as a reminder of our most common way of measuring time.

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Concurrently on view at the London showroom is "Vital Statistics," an exhibition curated by Holmes, Established & Sons' original Design Director. The collection serves as a neatly edited overview of the range of talented designers they've worked with and the forward-thinking output of their uninhibited collaborations. Both exhibitions will be up at the London showroom through 21 September, which is located at 5-7 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7SL.

Lead image courtesy of Established & Sons, all others by Karen Day

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