Matthew Day Jackson creates Kolho furniture using moon-inspired Formica

Artist Matthew Day Jackson has developed a Formica surface that subtly replicates the surface of the moon and used it to make furniture.

Presented during Milan design week, the Kolho dining table and chairs feature curvy cartoonish wood frames. But if you look closely, the surface material of the seat has a gentle texture that mimics, to scale, the ground surface of the moon.

Jackson created this surface by developing a new variety of Formica, the wipe-clean laminate material commonly used for cafe furniture in the 1960s and 70s.

Matthew Day Jackson creates moon-inspired Formica to make furniture

The series is the result of a collaboration between Jackson, Finnish design manufacturer Made by Choice and the Formica Group.

Jackson, who has long used Formica laminate in his artwork, decided out of curiosity to visit the factory on a visit to Finland in 2018. By chance, he also met Niclas Ahlström, who founded Helsinki-based furniture company Made by Choice in 2015.

They decided to work together on a collection of furniture that would utilise a Formica laminate designed by Jackson and developed at the plant. It is called Kolho, because that is the town where the factory is located.

Matthew Day Jackson creates moon-inspired Formica to make furniture

To make the series, the Formica Group developed bespoke steel press-plates to create a textured laminate at 80 microns (or 0.08 millimetres) in depth, which is a scale representation of the surface of the far side of the moon.

The texture is derived from images taken from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2009, launched in honour of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing. Kolho's debut coincides with the 50th anniversary of this landing.

Matthew Day Jackson creates moon-inspired Formica to make furniture

The chair's form – a swooping frame that wraps a smooth rectangular seat – is based on the Apollo spaceship and the moon's Dionysus crater.

"Apollo was rectilinear and Dionysus was chaotic and curvy. Those two things, those two polarities begged for a material that curved, which is plywood," explained Jackson.

"I think that the play was not necessarily about material, but thinking about geometry and how the curve of a line and the flatness of the table can meet."

Matthew Day Jackson creates moon-inspired Formica to make furniture

Jackson's interest in the 1959 moon landing features widely in his artwork, often in reference to ideas about colonisation and human ambition, at whatever cost.

"As we explore the world and universe around us, we are peering deeper into our own reflection," said Jackson. "We seek not the world outside, but rather, proof of our own existence. And as we search further, we delve deeper into the terrain of our collective selves."

Matthew Day Jackson creates moon-inspired Formica to make furniture

In Milan, Made by Choice will present four different tables and chairs in different geometries and colours.

"I don't see this as falling outside of art at all," concluded Jackson. "I think objects tell stories, I don't see a difference between sculpture and furniture."

Other recently-launched lunar-themed furniture includes the Moon Rock collection by London-based Studio Furthermore, which is made from aluminium but designed to look like it is formed from materials mined in outer space.