Elisa Ossino is a Sicilian architect and designer with an appreciation for elegant geometry found in natural materials. Her ‘Abstract Landscape’ series is a collection of unique furniture sculptures made from Abonos: wood that has been preserved for hundreds or even thousands of years in peat bogs.
The astonishing quality of this material is evident in its structural integrity as well as the complex colouring and surface texture. It’s understandable that she handles the wood sparingly, levelling off the surfaces of stools or table tops and carving simple shapes into and out of the original pieces. This perfectly executed geometry lets the material do most of the talking, leaving us to marvel at the depth of colour and the sculptural features of ancient wood grain.
One noteworthy example of Ossino’s tasteful minimalist sensibilities is the excavation of a single cylinder carved through the body of a log that functions as a stool. To replicate the form of the object itself in the negative is at once poetic and a little ironic – providing a utilitarian opportunity to easily pick up the stool, in addition to functioning aesthetically. The hole reveals a solid core of wood that hasn’t rotted one bit in all that time buried in the bog.
Innovation meets playfulness in the wooden “carpets” fashioned from the same Abonos wood in combination with a cork under layer. Flexible as fabric, these objects defy logic in their material qualities and evoke a casual tastefulness with oblong shapes collaged together.
Ossino’s work would be impressive even if it wasn’t made from thousand-year-old wood, but the fact that she is confident enough to handle what could be seen as biological artefacts elevates these sculptures to a new level of craftsmanship and originality. The one-of-a-kind nature of each piece contrasts contemporary notions of the furniture devoid of personality, made to last a season only to be replaced shortly thereafter. Pared down to its barest elements, her Abstract Landscape series advocates for quality materials that can and have lasted a lifetime. Find her other design and architectural work at the link below.