Design world “it boys,” the Brazilian brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana , are showing their first U.S. solo exhibition, "Campana Brothers: Concepts", through July 3 at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York. The exhibition takes the duo’s hyper-innovative designs into new directions.
Nearing the pivotal 10-year mark in their careers, “the usual time interval between an explosion of fresh ideas,” notes Fernando Campanas, the brothers decided to take up gallery owner Marc Benda’s challenge to design prototype furniture as the basis for future collections.
Steering away from their usual low-tech, artisan approach of using sustainable, readily available and often-recycled materials, Humberto commented, “the starting point for this collection was the materials—experimenting with the new and the different ways in which they can be manufactured.”
This ethos displays itself in the Boca series, made from cowhide as a wall-mounted bookshelf, table and standing shelf. The Racket collection of chairs are accompanied by a screen in bent brass with a nylon stitched base and a hand-stitched motif made from remnant Thonet chair backings. Next, the Ametista collection comprises a series of dazzling glass, hanging panels bedecked with São Paulo-sourced amethyst rocks, while the Pirarucu cabinet is made from the skin of the eponymous fish, farmed from fresh water. And, in a nod to Brazil’s natural environment, the eco-conscious Campanas covered the gallery walls with coconut fibers to intensify the experience and visually connect the pieces.
The Campanas' zest for the spirited Brazilian sensibility and inherent beauty of the jazzy, chaotic street life (an aesthetic represented in their stuffed toy furniture of 2002) has been refashioned into a chair and sofa made from lifelike stuffed leather alligator and handcrafted by underprivileged women employed by the Brazilian ONG OrientaVida .