At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the ultra-modern furniture made by Italian design collective Nucleo for blocks of marble, translucent amber or cracked ice. But look closer: these gallery pieces are actually made by encasing household objects and organic materials in industrial resin. Submerged under the sleek, transparent exterior, chairs, tables and hunks of wood remain rough and natural, surrounded by glimmering suspensions of bubbles.
Resin, better known as the shiny floor coating ubiquitous in hospitals, elementary schools and cafeterias, is harder than concrete and comes with a perfectly smooth finish. “It’s not a fine material, and many people don’t like to work with it,” says Nucleo director Piergiorgio Robino. “There is no guidebook for it, but that also means there is a lot of opportunity to be really creative.” His series “Souvenirs of the Last Century” uses resin to create dcor objects out of rustic old furniture, while the “Quartz” and “Jade” series transform raw-hewn pieces of 200-year-old Italian oak into art pieces that look like polished stones and fossils.