Ore Streams

Ore Streams

NGV - Triennale di Milano, 2017

Ore Streams1 is an ambitious investigation into the recycling of electronic waste developed by Formafantasma over the course of three years, first as a commission at the NGV2 Triennial in Melbourne in 20173 curated by Ewan Mc Eoin and Simone LeAmon, and then in 2018 for the XXII Triennale 'Broken Nature'4 curated by Paola Antonelli (senior curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA in NY). It uses a diversity of media (objects, video documentaries, and an animation) to address the topic from multiple perspectives, and reflect on how design could be an important agent for more responsible use of resources.
№ – Visual Essay.
Humans have mined the Earth's surface for millennia in search of metals and minerals to fulfil production demands. In fact, forging metal changed the course of history: bronze empowered humans to weaponize, and gold facilitated local, then global, trade. At this very moment, new cavities are being hollowed out, while existing excavated sites are abandoned or refilled with new Earth – a superficial recompense. By 2080, the most significant metal reserves will not be underground but above the surface, as ingots stored in private buildings or otherwise circulated within products such as building materials, appliances, furniture, and consumer electronics.
№ – Cubicle.
№ – Cabinet.
On the surface of our planet, rivers of ore in the form of discarded hardware stream freely as if in a continuous, borderless continent. Efforts to recycle it remain experimental, uncharted, and contentious. New logistical structures, technologies, and cross – country transnational alliances are being forged to allow for the recovery of metals at the lowest expense. As this shift ensues, the mining industry will be permanently altered. We will enter a new phase, where aboveground scavenging outperforms and out – values digging for raw material.
№ – Cubicle 2.
№ – Cubicle 2.
Currently, electronics are the world's fastest – growing waste stream, but only 30 percent of the West's e-waste makes its way to appropriate recycling facilities. The remaining 70 percent is shipped, often illegally, to developing countries, where it is disassembled in poor working conditions, and toxic components of electronics are disposed of inappropriately. In several countries, legislation is now in place to ban such exportation of e – waste and to establish directives to ensure correct processing. Yet lawmakers underestimate the design possibilities that could improve recycling in both developed and developing countries.
№ – Taxonomy.
№ – Design strategies, "12:28’’.
The eighteen channel Ore Streams video installation aims to offer global strategies for the design of products that lend themselves to more efficient repair and recycling. It includes a series of interviews the Studio conducted with practitioners in the recycling sector, including European e – waste recyclers, academic researchers, electronics producers, NGOs working in developing countries, and members of Interpol. The installation also includes a video collecting historical and contemporary examples of planned obsolescence in electric and electronic objects at the centre of class – action lawsuits. One video explains recycling systems and technologies for sorting waste, and two videos show a selection of electronic products being carefully disassembled and recomposed. In the animation, Formafantasma uses 3D rendering to visualize possible strategies to improve repairing and recycling. The objects created for Ore Streams invite more in – depth exploration of aboveground mining, and the complex role design plays in transforming natural resources into desirable products. The office furniture is constructed out of recycled iron, aluminium, dead – stock of computer cases, and recycled electronic components. The office is where modern design principles are most visible – the search for efficiency, ideal standards, and a universal style are epitomized by furniture such as the filing cabinet and the modular cubicle. The choice to reference this environment is a nod not only to these principles, but to the same pragmatic approach of quantification, organization, and efficiency that runs the bureaucracies responsible for regulating and capitalizing on the circulation of natural resources, minerals, and waste toward the global production of goods.
№ – Chair.
№ – Chair, detail.
The website www.orestreams.com collects all the research outcomes and compiles an archive of documents, videos, books and articles on the topic. The objects are available at Galleria Giustini / Stagetti5.
№ – Table.
№ – Table, detail.
№ – System of Recycling.

Notes, References and External Links

1. Ore Streams. The website www.orestreams.com collects all the research outcomes and compiles an archive of documents, videos, books, and articles on the topic.

2. NGV
The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV, is an art museum in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1861, it is Australia's oldest, largest, and most visited art museum.

3. The NGV Triennial 2017 explores cutting edge technologies, architecture, animation, performance, film, painting, drawing, fashion design, tapestry and sculpture.

4. Broken Nature is the thematic exhibition from which the XXII International Exhibition takes its name. The thematic exhibition is an in – depth exploration of the strands that connect humans to the natural environment that have been intensely compromised, if not entirely severed, over the years. Curated by Paola Antonelli.

5. Giustini / Stagetti was founded in Rome in 2009 by Roberto Giustini and Stefano Stagetti. The gallery specializes in both twentieth century Italian design and in International contemporary design.

– The Triennale di Milano is a design and art museum in the Parco Sempione in Milan, in Lombardy in northern Italy. It is housed in the Palazzo dell'Arte, which was designed by Giovanni Muzio and built between 1931 and 1933.

– NGV Triennial filmFor NGV Triennial, Amsterdam-based Studio Formafantasma presents Ore Streams, an ambitious investigation into the recycling of precious electronic waste offering an insight into how design can be an invaluable agent for change.

– Broken Nature portraitOre Streams, by design duo Formafantasma, is one of the four directly commissioned works featured in the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature. Grappling with the issue of e – waste recycling.

– Electa. The 'Broken Nature' catalogue is published in partnership with Electa.

– Radical Kitchen filmBuilding on the Radical Kitchen: recipes for Building Community and Creating Change program launched in 2017, Serpentine presented a second season of its lunchtime gatherings in the Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Frida Escobedo. On Thursday 12 July, design duo Formafantasma discussed gold and recycling technological objects with design critic and writer Alice Rawsthorn.


CONCEPT, DESIGN Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin
RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT Johanna Seelemann, Nicolas Verschaeve
FILMING Johanna Seelemann, Nicolas Verschaeve
VOICEOVER Claire Bocking, Miriam Yang
TEXT EDITING Tamar Shafrir
WEBSITE DESIGN Koehorst in ’t Veld with Benjamin Sporken
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT New Design Vision, Davide Giorgetta


Broken NatureBroken Nature portrait #1: Formafantasma – Ore Streams
Digicult, Following Ore Streams: An Exploration of E-Waste system. Interview with Formafantasma
The New York Times, The End Is Nigh. Can Design Save Us?
DomusIn Melbourne, electronic waste according to Studio Formafantasma
Dezeen, Formafantasma explores "above-ground mining" with Ore Streams office furniture
Frieze, One Take: Studio Formafantasma's Ore Streams
Fast Company, How design led to overconsumption – and how it can help stop it
Wallpaper*, Formafantasma creates a furniture collection from technology scraps
Designboom, Formafantasma uses electronic waste to create office furniture concepts
Stylepark, Treasure in scrap
NGV Triennale, NGV Triennial | Formafantasma
Mousse Magazine, Design, Reset: Studio Formafantasma
Numero, Formafantasma, the duo that is reinventing design
The Tree Mag, Ore Streams raccontato dai designer di Formafantasma
Thursday NightThursday Night Live! Report: Design Dialogues, Ore Streams with Formafantasma
MacGuffin Magazine, Mining above Ground
Metropolis Mag, Ore-Streams – Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi of Formafantasma
Fortune Magazine, Brainstorm Design 2019: I, You, And It I Fortune
Triennale Milano, Broken Nature Special Commissions
Columbia GSAPP, Ore Streams
Progress Audi, Design is once again shaking the world
Financial TimesMeet the designers turning electronic waste into elegant furniture
LeibalOre Streams by Formafantasma
Frizzifrizzi, Formafantasma: di design, utopia e altre sciocchezze
TL mag, Formafantasma – Reinterpreting the Past to Revitalize the Present
E-flux, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival
Living Corriere, Collezione Ore Streams by Formafantasma: Mobile
Il Globo, ‘Ore streams’: Italian duo Studio Formafantasma represent the Netherlands at the NGV Triennial
Experimenta, Formafantasma transforma residuos electrónicos en mobiliario de oficina
Flash Art, L’indissolubile Interconnessione tra le Specie: Formafantasma
De Standaard, De Smaakmakers van Milaan Studio Formafantasma
ABC, Ore Streams and electronic waste
C41, Formafantasma for Broken Nature: design takes on human survival
ICON, Broken Nature: The Triennale exhibition about designing for our species’ survival
Klatmagazine, Paola Antonelli, Design e sopravvivenza
DomusFormafantasma: “We let the material dictate the final result”
NEO2, Hacia un diseño regenerador. Broken Nature
Mousse Magazine, “Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival” at XXII Triennale di Milano, Milan
Indesign Live, Design For Survival Or Legacy? ‘Broken Nature’ Exhibition Seeks Ingenuity Amidst Hard Truths
Elle, "Il design ci salverà", ma solo se design ricostituente
MomaFormafantasmaest. 2009
Metropolis Mag, Paola Antonelli’s Milan Triennale Seeks to Restore Humanity’s Fractured Links with Nature
Metropolis Mag, Humans Must Be Displaced From the Center of Design
Flash Art, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival XXII Triennale / Milan
Living Corriere, Broken Nature alla Triennale di Milano 
Flash Art, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival Triennale / Milano
Wallpaper*, A new iteration of ‘Broken Nature’ makes its way to MoMA in New York
Radical Kitchen, Radical Kitchen 2018: Gold: Formafantasma in conversation with Alice Rawsthorn
Walker, Scaling Up: Formafantasma