Francesco Faccin creates furniture using bronze planks

Francesco Faccin creates furniture with bronze planks cast to look like wood

Milan 2016: Italian designer Francesco Faccin's Bronzification collection features furniture made from panels of bronze with the texture and appearance of wooden planks (+ movie).

Bronzification by Francesco Faccin
Francesco Faccin's Bronzification collection includes consoles, low tables, a chair and a small trough-like stand. Photograph by Lea Anouchinsky

The furniture was produced using Faccin's Serial Planks process, which sees pieces of wood turned into silicon moulds for use in lost-wax casting.

A 150 centimetre by 7 centimetre larch wood plank is treated to emphasise its grain before being hand-coated in soft silicone on one side. Once the silicone sets, the same process is repeated to copy the other side.

Francesco Faccin's Bronzification furniture unveiled at the Nilufar gallery at Milan Design week 2016
The larger of the two tables is made from a series of bronze planks joined together to look like a wooden table. Photograph by Virginia Taroni

Together, the two pieces create a mould that is filled with wax to create a replica plank. A number of these wax pieces are set into a clay-like casing, creating another mould into which the molten bronze can be poured. The liquid metal fills the void left when the wax melts.

"This method guarantees the most detailed and refined surface textures," Faccin told Dezeen. "The oldest known examples of this technique are objects discovered in Israel, which belong to a period between 4500–3500 BC."

Francesco Faccin's Bronzification furniture unveiled at the Nilufar gallery at Milan Design week 2016
The slimmer of the two consoles features an A-frame leg at one end for stability. Photograph by Delfino Sisto Legnani

Once cooled, the casing is hammered away and the bronze is polished, creating planks of metal that mimic the wood's shape and grain.

These planks form each piece of the furniture, welded together to form a circular tabletop and also turned into supporting legs.

A slim console features a single plank as a tabletop, and an A-shaped support formed by two converging panels.

Surface on a low table with a round top made from multiple planks were treated with chemicals and heat to develop a patina, turning them pale blue, while the edges were polished to create a contrast.

Francesco Faccin's Bronzification furniture unveiled at the Nilufar gallery at Milan Design week 2016
The second table design has a round top and angled legs and is finished with a pale blue patina. Photograph by Delfino Sisto Legnani

A long trough-like bowl is made from two intersecting planks treated to create a black finish.

"The bronze planks, despite being the same, are different due to the ancient manual process they are made with, where imperfection becomes an added value," said Faccin, who designed "micro-architecture" for bees  at Milan's Triennale last year.

Francesco Faccin's Bronzification furniture unveiled at the Nilufar gallery at Milan Design week 2016
The trough-like stand is made from two long black-finished bronze planks with short supports. Photograph by Delfino Sisto Legnani

"This project is more about the process rather than the shape," he said of the Bronzification collection. "Wood has always been the basic construction module. Now the stiffness of this material creates a sharp contrast with the nobility of bronze."

Faccin first started investigating his Serial Planks method in 2014, when the Fonderia Artistica Battaglia partnered with the designer to find new ways of using bronze with the lost-wax casting process.

Francesco Faccin's Bronzification furniture unveiled at the Nilufar gallery at Milan Design week 2016
The collection launched during Milan design week. Photograph by Pietro Cocco

"I wanted to try using bronze to produce unique items but anonymous, not ostentatious. Objects to be included silently at home or in the garden," he said.

The Bronzification collection was on display as a solo exhibition at the Nilufar Gallery on Via della Spiga, during Milan design week 2016.

British designer Jasper Morrison also debuted products designed to look like wood but made from another material with his All Plastic chairs for Swiss design brand Vitra at the Salone del Mobile furniture fair.

Francesco Faccin's Bronzification furniture unveiled at the Nilufar gallery at Milan Design week 2016
All of the bronze planks used in the furniture were made using a lost-wax casting process. Photograph by Delfino Sisto Legnani

Other highlights from Milan design week included Patricia Urquiola's Credenza cabinet with stained-glass panels, and Moooi's 2016 furniture and lighting range, which featured a sofa turned on its side and lamps shaped like origami birds.

See Dezeen's 25 top furniture and product launches from the Salone del Mobile, and eight top trends from Milan design week.