Widely used in the Renaissance, the method of drawing with charcoal continues to be used even in this day and age. The art pieces that are made from it encompass “an array of moods and techniques yet share grace and strength of artistic vision.” Tacita Dean describes the black carbon residue as a ritual. “It’s a perfect cycle, the phoenix rising from the ashes,” the artist said about the “Made on January 19th, 2017” painting, which was made of Glasgow School of Art‘s famous Mackintosh library’s ashes resulted from a fire that broke out in 2014.
The building was considered one of the most beautiful examples of art nouveau in the world. It’s perfectly understandable why people want to restore it. But some creatives thought of bringing it back by using its own remains and sharing their results via the “Ash to Art” project. Artists were invited to be creative and reimagine the ashes. Some of them have reinterpreted the solid remnants of the fire as sculptures, whilst others have used the “dust” to draw. For example, Joseph Kosuth’s drawing depicts a chair, a work that remained on paper. We wonder, what would the chair look like if it were real?
FCB Lisboa and WWF Portugal took things a little further and laid the groundwork for the “Pyros Collection.” As the name says it, “pyro” (which means “fire” in Greek), the collection is inspired by ash and features a series of artwork that pushes one to think outside the box. The difference is that this time, the material comes from wildfires, a phenomenon that threatens Portugal every year.
Although it is a recurring problem, people tend to forget it once winter sets in. WWF thinks that such tragedies shouldn’t be left into oblivion. To raise awareness and empower the country’s citizens to do something — especially now, when Portugal is facing a new wildfire challenge — the NGO invited renowned architect Nuno Lacerda to transform burnt wood into pieces of furniture.
The collection can be admired online by accessing the webpage that hosts the campaign. Upon landing on the site, users are encouraged to watch a video and then admire the decorative pieces of wood. And while their design is modern, their names are Latin-inspired but related to the theme: Ignis table (wildfires), Lacrimae stool (tears), or Devastio table (devastation) are just some of the examples, but we believe that the campaign reaches its climax through Flamma (flame), a chair that screams fire from its every pore.
“Portugal has historically had a major problem of forest fires, hence the relevance of this idea. Due to the great visibility it is having, we were contacted to have the collection displayed in art galleries. We are now planning how the second phase of the project will be”, says Edson Athayde, FCB Lisboa’s CEO and CCO.
WWF sent one of the Pyros collection pieces, which “instead of generating comfort, aims to generate discomfort” says the architect, to the Portuguese Minister of the Environment and Energy Transition, Mr. Matos Fernandes. The message behind this “surprise” is to make the authorities remember the previous wildfires and encourage the government to create a plan so that such tragedies can be prevented in the future.
Client: WWF Portugal
Agency: FCB Lisboa
Executive Creative Director: Edson Athayde
CD/Copywriter: Viton Araújo
Art Director: João Martins
Architect / Furniture Designer: Nuno Lacerda
Film Director: Diego Fontecilla, Mario Patrocínio
Producer: João Belmar, Nuno Lobo
Production Company: BRO Cinema
Sound Design: O Menino Grava