Formafantasma at Manitoga's Dragon Rock: Designing Nature

March 21, 2022

Formafantasma, Botanica selection, 2011. Courtesy Galleria Giustini / Stagetti, Rome.
Formafantasma, Botanica selection, 2011. Courtesy Galleria Giustini/Stagetti, Rome.

In Collaboration with Manitoga, Magazzino Italian Art Presents Formafantasma at Manitoga’s Dragon Rock: Designing Nature

Cold Spring, New York | March 21, 2022 – Magazzino Italian Art is pleased to announce its collaboration with Manitoga / The Russel Wright Design Center to present Formafantasma at Manitoga’s Dragon Rock: Designing Nature. The installation will be on view at the DesignCenter from May 13 through November 14, 2022.

Always interested in the complex relationship between design and the natural world, Andrea Trimarchi and SimoneFarresin of the design duo Formafantasma present a selection of works in dialogue with Manitoga - the house, studio and surrounding landscape of the renowned American designer Russel Wright (1904-1976). An iconic example of modernist architecture in the idyllic Hudson Valley region, Wright’s home and studio - known as “Dragon Rock" - is made of stone, wood and glass, and was conceived in dialogue with the landscape in which it was constructed.

Since founding the studio, Trimarchi and Farresin have developed a coherent body of work characterized by experimental material investigations and have explored issues such as the relationship between tradition and local culture, critical approaches to sustainability and the significance of objects as cultural conduits. This installation offered the chance to encounter Wright’s work outside of his mastery of industrial design, and they took a collaborative approach to their curation to ensure that the works on view engage in critical conversation with their surroundings. The selection of objects that will be on view at Dragon Rock, presented in harmony with the architecture of the space, focuses primarily on Formafantasma’s early works. In these pieces, the research of materials and preference for the organic, encounter - in both familiar and unexpected ways - Wright’s experimental attitude and his vision of architecture as an extension of the surrounding landscape.

This installation showcases the parallel nature of Formafantasma and Wright’s practices; each working intuitively with their surroundings in order to produce a seamless collaboration. However, for Trimarchi and Farresin, selecting work for the installation required the additional consideration of the many pre-existing narratives already in conversation at Manitoga; that of the house, of the landscaping and of Wright’s personal practice. In the end, the curatorial process unearthed a fruitful recognition of architecture within their own work and allowed them to treat the house not merely as a gallery space, but rather to introduce the objects in a nuanced and seamless way. Though the duo has shown their work many times in the United States and has collaborated with museums on acquisitions, they are thrilled to be collaborating with Manitoga on their first site-specific installation in the country.

Manitoga is open by guided tour only, Friday through Monday, beginning on May 13, 2022. Manitoga is open to visitors by guided tours, and can be reserved at

The installation is possible with the support of Galleria Giustini / Stagetti, Rome.

“Magazzino is proud to partner with Manitoga / The Russel Wright Design Center for the first time in welcoming the Italian design duoFormafantasma. It’s an honor to work closely with a neighboring institution with whom we share such strong values centered on community, nature and architecture. Marking our third collaboration with a local arts organization, we are excited to welcome Formafantasma to the Hudson Valley, where the designers will create subtle interventions within some the most intimate yet communal spaces at Dragon Rock and enter into a unique dialogue with the work of Russel Wright, the architecture of the house and studio, and its surrounding landscape.”

Vittorio Calabrese, Director of Magazzino

“The launch of the new Russel & Mary Wright Design Gallery last year (2021) within Dragon Rock at Manitoga opened up new programmatic possibilities, including the opportunity to invite designers along with visual and performing artists to engage in dialogue with Wright’s legacy at Manitoga. Formafantasma and Russel Wright share a broad design reach, across medium and scale, from object to environment, with focused attention to form, materiality and method. Although separated by almost a century, the work of both addresses environmental concerns and asks if design can be a steward of nature and our future…Through partnership [with Magazzino], we look forward to enriching and amplifying the vibrant arts and design community in the Hudson Valley.”

Allison Cross, Executive Director of Manitoga / The Russel Wright Design Center

About Formafantasma

Andrea Trimarchi (1983) and SimoneFarresin (1980) are Studio Formafantasma, an Italian design duo based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Their interest in product design developed on the IM master course at Design Academy Eindhoven, where they graduated in July 2009. Since then,Formafantasma has developed a coherent body of work characterized by experimental material investigations and explored issues such as the relationship between tradition and local culture, critical approaches to sustainability and the significance of objects as cultural conduits. In perceiving their role as a bridge between craft, industry, object and user, they are interested in forging links between their research-based practice and a wider design industry. Their work has been exhibited internationally in museums such as MoMA, New York, US; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, US; The Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, US; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, FR; Textiel Museum, Tilburg,NL; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL; MUDAC, Lausanne, CH; Mint Museum of Craft and Design, North Carolina, US; and the MAK Museum, Vienna, AT. In March 2011, Paola Antonelli of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and esteemed design critic Alice Rawsthorn listed their studio amongst a handful of practices that would shape the future of design.

About Manitoga

Located in Garrison, New York, approximately one hour north of New York City, Manitoga is the former home, Dragon Rock, and 75-acre woodland landscape ofAmerican industrial designer Russel Wright (1904-1976). Manitoga is a National Historic Landmark and one of the few 20th century modern homes with original landscape open to the public. Manitoga/The Russel WrightDesign Center stewards Manitoga as the embodiment of Wright's design philosophy and life's work and celebrates good design for living in creative harmony with nature through programs and events.

In 2021, the Russel & Mary Wright Design Gallery opened to the public, offering a permanent onsite display of the Wrights’ groundbreaking designs for the American home.

About Magazzino

Magazzino is a private warehouse art space in the Hudson Valley devoted to Postwar and Contemporary Italian Art. Meaning "warehouse” in Italian, the 20,000 square-foot structure is designed by architect Miguel Quismondo and dedicated to select works from the Olnick Spanu Collection. Co-founded by Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, and directed by Vittorio Calabrese, Magazzino is free to the public by appointment. In addition to its curatorial program, Magazzino serves as a resource for scholars and students to utilize its extensive library and archive of Arte Povera, as well as a cultural hub for the vibrant Hudson Valley community. Magazzino bridges collaborations with American and Italian organizations to support contemporary Italian artists and foster discussions about Postwar and Contemporary Italian Art in the United States.

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