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Fernando and Humberto Campana are Brazilian designers who have been working together since the early 1980s. The brothers’ work was originally fueled by a passion to develop aesthetically pleasing furniture from ordinary materials. They were especially drawn to using materials that others considered “waste”. Their original, and often artistic, work was in many ways a backlash to the shiny, glittery 1970s. Early projects evolved in stark contrast to contemporary trends, and as such the brothers received as much criticism as praise during their formative years. Not one, or two, to back down Fernando and Humberto stuck with their chosen ideology and were eventually launched into the global design spotlight when their work was exhibited in 1998 at the The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York alongside the work of German lighting designer Ingo Maurer.
The brothers are probably best known for their Vermelha Chair which utilizes five hundred meters of cotton rope to create a intricately woven upholstery over a stainless steel armature. Herein lies the challenge that faces these down-cycling proponents now that their work has received critical success. The version of the Vermelha that is available for public consumption is manufactured by Edra and costs nearly $10,000. The original model “was inspired by the piles and spools of rope the brothers saw in one of the many shops that line the side streets of São Paulo.” Such is art, and such is life.
The brothers have actually managed to balance their success (and its effect) and their creative output quite well. They have continued to produce an interesting range of furniture and products that hold true to their design roots, and at the same time have managed to expand their area of expertise. The Campana Brothers recent work for the New Hotel Athens demonstrates how their unique viewpoint can be translated to an interior space. The project, which was a collaborative effort with students from the University of Thessaly, enshrines everyday objects in “a blend of art, sculpture and design.”
To view additional work from the Brothers Campana please visit their website.