Maharam is proud to support Artek and Formafantasma in the inauguration of the Kaleidoscope Room at Seoul’s SONGEUN Art and Cultural Foundation.
Serving as a reading room for visitors at the entryway to SONGEUN’s exhibition space designed to nurture promising Korean artists, the Kaleidoscope Room by Artek and Formafantasma offers a glimpse into the Finnish forest. Noting the impacts of climate change and industrialization, the installation both celebrates the 90th anniversary of the iconic Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto and reflects on Artek within the context of the forest industry. The presentation highlights Formafantasma’s ongoing research, including the extraction, production, and distribution of wood products. Developed in partnership between Artek and Formafantasma, Artek’s new wild birch option referred to as “villi” (Finnish for “wild”) pursues reduced environmental impact by embracing the natural material’s varied appearance including knots, insect trails, and color shifts and thus utilizing more of the tree.
Maharam’s contribution of custom materials enlists the company’s bespoke design services and advanced digital printing capabilities. An expansive tufted wool rug envelopes the floor in a lilac hue that was carefully selected by Formafantasma. Maharam Media worked closely with Formafantasma to develop a large-scale digitally printed curtain spanning 8.4 meters by 3.4 meters that captures a film still of a Finnish birch forest in reference to the origin of Artek furniture.
The Kaleidoscope Room by Artek and Formafantasma is open August 16, 2023 to February 24, 2024.
Artek was founded in Helsinki in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. Their goal was “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means.”
In keeping with the radical spirit of its founders, Artek today remains an innovative player in the world of modern design, developing new products at the intersection of design, architecture, and art. The Artek collection consists of furniture, lighting, and accessories designed by Finnish masters and leading international designers. It stands for clarity, functionality, and poetic simplicity.
Studio Formafantasma is a research-based design studio investigating the ecological, historical, political and social forces shaping the discipline of design today. Whether designing for a client or developing self-initiated projects, the studio applies the same rigorous attention to context, processes and details. Formafantasma’s analytical nature translates into meticulous visual outcomes, products and strategies.
In 2020, Formafantasma set up Cambio, an ongoing investigation into the extraction, production and distribution of wood products. In collaboration with Artek, Formafantasma examines the changing conditions of Finnish forests in the light of industrialisation and climate change. Since 2022 Formafantasma has been curating the multi-disciplinary symposium Prada Frames, which delves into the complex relationship between the natural environment and design.
SONGEUN Art and Cultural Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1989. The foundation’s name derives from the founding father’s nom de plume, “SONGEUN”, translating beautifully into ‘hidden pine tree’ as a means of capturing the spirit of the foundation’s deeply rooted mission to support emerging artists. In 2001, the foundation initiated the SONGEUN Art Award to foster promising contemporary Korean artists and further propel the careers of the awardees. Currently this award is considered one of the most important prizes for Korean artists. In September 2021, SONGEUN unveiled its new space designed by the renowned Swiss architecture firm, Herzog & de Meuron, as their first-ever realized project in Korea. With this, SONGEUN has been positioned as a significant landmark in Seoul with the collective aspiration to both impart and contribute a meaningful influence on Korea’s cultural makeshift by broadening the exposure of Korean artists as well as the contemporary art scene.