Exhibition: Cambio by Formafantasma

Sep 29, 2020 | our customers

Cambio – A Study Of The Global Timber Industry

The title Cambio comes from the Latin ‘cambium’, meaning change, or exchange. The word is also a reference to the cambial layer, the membrane that surrounds the stem or trunk of every tree, forming the layers wood on the inside the external layer of bark.


Cambio is also the name of an exhibition by design studio Formafantasma currently showing at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens, London.

About the Cambio exhibition

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, the designers behind Formafantasma and this exhibition, are conducting an ongoing investigation into the extraction, production and distribution of wood products, and the governance of the timber industry – a it’s a study of the timber industry through the eyes and experience of a design thinking collective.

Throughout history, timber commerce has been difficult to regulate. It’s expanded and evolved, putting down roots across the globe, from the bio-prospecting of colonial territories in the 19th century, to one of the largest industries in the world – there are few trades that carry as much impact as timber – in terms of revenue, and also the effects on the biosphere.

Cambio displays samples of rare hardwoods , loaned by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew which were first exhibited in 1851 at London’s Great Exhibition. They represent trees that have been logged to near-extinction. These samples sit among exhibition display furniture designed by Formafantasma, crafted from a tree that was blown over by a storm in northern Italy two years ago. The collection represents an archive of climatic change, capturing the movement of natural materials around the world.

“The smell, developed by smell researcher and artist Sissel Tolaas, evokes the wet earth and flora of a forest, offering an immersive reminder of what is at stake when we lose this environment.”

Running along the walls of the exhibition are a series of case studies which provide insight into the methods in which wood is sourced and used. They’ve collaborated with experts in science, engineering, conservation and philosophy, to capture wood on the microscopic and metaphysical scales.

This exhibition reveals the role that design plays in our environment and highlights our responsibility to look beyond the status quo when thinking about the future of design with wood.

Formafantasma asks how we can bring emerging environmental awareness into the philosophy and politics of trees, and collaborate in building the future of design.

Running until the 15th November at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery nestled in the heart of Kensington Gardens, this free exhibition is a must-see for anybody with an interest in trees, forestry, the environment, the timber industry or design evolution and influence.


English Woodlands Timber & The Serpentine Gallery

We are very pleased to contribute to Cambio and this fasciniting and illuminating study of our industry by donating a number of boules for display in the exhibition. All were sourced from well managed British woodland. The largest, an Oak boule, is placed at the entrance to the exhibition that you can see in the film tour above.


What is a Boule?

A boule is a through and through* sawn logs which are handled and cared for in a time-honoured tradition by having sticks placed carefully between each board and then left to dry in the outdoors, strapped and stacked to restrain them in their drying with the aim of creating flat, even, stable timber that can be used for making, for cabinetry, joinery, furniture making, cladding , flooring… woodworking of every type.



Location: Serpentine Sackler Gallery
Dates: 29th September – 15th November 2020
Times: Tue – Sun, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free 



Formafantasma https://www.formafantasma.com/
Cambio http://www.cambio.website/

The Serpentine Gallery https://www.serpentinegalleries.org/

The Sackler Gallery https://www.serpentinegalleries.org/whats-on/formafantasma-cambio/

Read more about boules in a boule blog https://www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk/the-story-of-our-boules/

Dezeen Formafantasma Cambio interview https://youtu.be/a9-WbGqajto

if you’ve made a special trip to London for the exhibition you’ll want to visit national treasure Kew Gardens too surely…  https://www.kew.org/kew-gardens

*longitudinally sawn