Dezeen Magazine

Envisions creates a "diptych" of material experiments for Finsa

Dutch collective Envisions will present its latest material research for wood brand Finsa during this year’s Milan design week, in an exhibition that combines process pieces with final collections.

The Wood in Progress exhibition is a continuation of the collective's Wood In Process project, presented at last year's Milan design festival.

Last year, 12 designers were invited to visit Spanish wood manufacturer Finsa's production facilities to find potential new uses for its range of materials.

This year's display will see six designers from last year's exhibit return to showcase the fruits of their experimental material research, focusing on the industrial processes and production rather than the materials samples.

"While Wood in Process was deliberately very open, experimental and playful, Wood in Progress is about making critical choices and a careful selection of the research that was to be continued," said Envisions co-founder, Sanne Schuurman.

According to Schuurman, these research products had to coordinate with the existing production processes within the factories of Finsa, without losing the "in-depth creativity" of the designers.

The product developments are to be presented as a "diptych" at the design festival – with the final "industry-worthy" collections displayed on one side of the board, and the experimental research processes on the other.

The designers worked with manufacturing specialists and factory workers to create the display boards that were developed and produced in Finsa's factories.

"Continuously taking a stand as to not promote the final product as design's highest good – the exhibition firstly consists of a conceptual and impressionistic application of the previously handcrafted materials, now industrially altered in the factories of Finsa," said the collective.

"Upscaled, repeated and carefully composed together, the contextualised play of materials culminate in a spatial spectacle of sensory finesse which is a direct result of Envisions' process-focused formula," it added.

The other side of the diptych then displays the current, industrial developments of Envisions' colourful wood samples combined with Finsa's manufacturing processes.

Side by side, the two displays represent the goal of the collaboration in showing that "designers can’t live without the industry and the industry can’t progress without visionary designers."

Last year, Aukje Fleur Janssen took woodgrain patterns and colour samples and transformed them into bright patterns that could be used in wrapping paper.

This year, Janssen took her samples to the Santiago-based factory and industrially developed the paper assemblage boards to make them durable and play proof, using the production process of melamine.

Simone Post played with the tension between natural and artificial in her samples by adding prints based on exaggerated versions of the grains and knots found in wood to pieces of MDF.

Post has now developed these prints, researching the potential of the CNC machine by using different mill sizes and shapes to reveal the underlying fibre layers of the MDF.

Elvis Wesley looked into the protective nature of wax finishes, but transformed it into a decorative element of the board, while Sanne Schuurman has scaled up her samples from last year that saw her split pieces of Finsa material to expose the inner fibrous texture.

Rotterdam-based designer Roos Gomperts and Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Thomas Trum will also present the industrial products of their material samples at the show.

The Envisions exhibition will run from 17 to 22 April during Milan design week at the Officine Savona in Zona Tortona.

Other exhibitions on display during the event include a collection that explores "the making of modern Norway", and a range of discotheque-inspired carpets and furniture by Gufram.