For many, experimentation and research are the most interesting aspects of Design, not only because you can discover and learn new things but because you question preconceptions and look for something that doesn’t yet exist. However, a complex aspect of furniture design is authentically reporting this research into the final results, furnishings, and accessories that are sold to the public. Naessi, a multidisciplinary design studio based in Rome founded by Eleonora Carbone and Alessandro D’Angeli in 2020, has found the perfect balance with the Fòlia project: research expressed with a final output understandable to everyone and strong storytelling. The collection was presented on the occasion of Lake Como Design Fair 2023 at the Galleria Ramo.
FÒLIA, the concept
When we see three-dimensional and sculptural forms made out of wood, they’re usually obtained by carving and turning a single solid wood block. Naessi’s research stems precisely from the analysis of natural flat surfaces that evolve into three-dimensional shapes and translates into the manipulation of a wooden surface. A process that aims to deform matters up to its maximum capacity.
“We started from the most basic vegetable surface: the sheet of wood, then the panel, the semi-finished product commonly used to create furniture. We asked ourselves: can a wooden panel be bent maybe once, but can it be bent many times in a row?” – Naessi.
The furniture collection
Fòlia was born from the collaboration of Næssi with Devoto Design, a company that, in its forty years of corporate history, has challenged, day after day, the traditional vision of wood for furniture. In fact, Fòlia was born from the desire to stress the material with the thermoforming process until it reaches an unexpected shape. This operation is aimed at generating a three-dimensional surface, which represents the starting point for the development of the furnishings in the collection. The studio created two occasional tables and a console: basic products because the intention is to tell and show the potential of the process.
The structure of FOLIA furniture pieces is made of recycled panels from processing waste in the rice industry. It’s a sustainable, recyclable, and lighter material than a common wood fiber panel or MDF. The skin is in maple briar. Briar wood has nineteenth-century origins and it has always accompanied the tradition of Italian cabinet-making. For the Fòlia furniture, Naessi has mixed contemporary shapes with an organic finish and with a very decorative aesthetic. The curved shapes are created by hot bending the panel between two elements, a template and a counter template made ad hoc. In this way, the material is not wasted, and the folding of the panels takes place very quickly, with little waste of energy and resources.
FÒLIA, the value of the research
When analyzing the various parts of the Fòlia project, the research, the production, and the final result, Naessi’s excellent ability to synthesize a path of experimentation into a concrete product is evident. The first aspect to take into account is the presentation during the Lake Como Design Fair, an event linked above all to collectible Design and, therefore, to unique pieces and experiments, a suitable place for this type of project.
Another fundamental aspect is precisely the choice of furnishings: the desire to make two coffee tables and a console with a top created from a wavy surface responds to the desire to show research and activate a dialogue, even at the expense of perfect functionality. It is precisely the contrast with the practicality of use that makes both the choice of output and the research carried out by Naessi appreciable in Fòlia.