Before going into the work of Formafantasma, however, it is necessary to focus on the second part of the title, and in particular the concept of “hyperobjects”, which Petroni borrows from the English philosopher Timothy Morton (whom the critic interviewed for Domus in 2019).
“We now live in a space where everything is entwined and interconnected, so we need to rethink cohabitation on the planet through new alliances between living and non-living, between plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, viruses and even humans. The hyperobject is this interweaving of macro and micro, of living and non-living. It is the discovery of a lost unity between humanity and nature. A composite whole that escapes individual measurement but profoundly influences individual existences. The pandemic is a hyperobject. Climate change is the supreme hyperobject,” Petroni writes. The Design of Hyperobjects epitomizes a concept that Morton illustrates in his books with a unique style, combining theory and poetry, philosophical speculations, ecological reflection and illuminating incursions into the arts and sciences.
This attitude appears clearly in the various projects by Formafantasma, which always start from critical observations of reality, and use design tools to deal with current and urgent issues.
The personal relationship between the critic and the designers began about 10 years ago, when Petroni curated a Formafantasma exhibition at the Fondazione Plart in Naples, displaying their Botanica collection (2012). Since that time (the two designers were recent graduates of the Design Academy Eindhoven), Petroni has always closely followed Formafantasma’s work. He describes their development as follows: “It is a unique story of a creative and design intensity mingling different temperatures and urgencies: art, philosophy, politics, ethics, anthropology, interacting in Formafantasma’s design work to release themselves into a new vision of design that opens up to the world superseding all sectorial interests and definitory anxieties.”