The Campana brothers at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, artisans of desire
The Campana brothers present “Manufatura” at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, craft-based emphasis of their work.
Last November at New York’s The Salon Art + Design, Friedman Benda unveiled Artisanal, an exhibition of work by the Campana brothers that heralded a new creative period in the Brazilian duo’s oeuvre. The Campana brothers’ approach is anchored in ideas of recuperation and transformation, and brings a typically Brazilian melting-pot spirit to the world of design. Classic examples of their work are the Favela chair for Edra (made from a multitude of little bits of wood) or the TransNeomatic collection for Artecnica (baskets made from a tyre containing woven cane). While these tendencies are still present in the brothers’ work, they’ve recently been shifting their emphasis to the idea of craft and the rediscovery of ancestral techniques. “For us it’s vital to highlight our collaboration with artisans, both in Brazil, obviously, but also all around the world. We love working with them, because with each project we widen not only our own vision but also theirs. We adore using ancestral techniques that are in danger of disappearing. It enriches our vocabulary,” explains Humberto Campana.
Already present in their 2013 Concepts show at Friedman Benda, the combination of refined materials and craft techniques is now pushed further, with new, more accomplished and more functional pieces. Among them is the Detonado series (a modular bookshelf, a shelf and a sideboard) which creates a dialogue between European and Brazilian Modernist design. The structure in sucupira (an exotic hardwood) is dressed in a patchwork of different colours (recalling military camouflage patterns) using cane recuperated from classic Thonet chairs. Revisiting ideas tried out with their famous Panda chair (2007, which featured dozens of panda teddy-bears), the armchair and sofa in the Bolotas series use sheep’s-wool pillows assembled on a steel structure to create the effect of a comforting, cocooning nest. For its Paris outing at the Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery (which coproduced the whole collection with Friedman Benda), the show has changed its name to Manufatura and features some pertinent new additions.
The Campana brothers will also be showing at Milan’s Salone del Mobile, where they’ll be unveiling no less than three projects, each with a very different brand. For Alpi – world leader in decorative panels – they’ve developed two “surface textures” for wood veneers, which were inspired by the opulent flora and fauna of Brazil. The first looks to the skin of the pirarucu, a large freshwater fish that lives in the Amazon River, while the second imitates straw as it is used in Brazilian houses. Meanwhile, for Ghidini Giuseppe Bosco – specialists in steel, bronze and zinc for interior designers – they’ve created an origami-style mirror inspired by the work of Lygia Clark, a Brazilian artist associated with the Neo-Concrete movement. Finally, for the Catalan brand BD Barcelona Design, the duo has developed a collection using a new concept: glass sandwiched in wood, the wood being hollowed away in places so that the glass, in three colors (green, blue and smoked), becomes visible. In 2013, Fernando and Humberto Campana were included in Forbes magazine’s list of the 100 most influential Brazilian personalities, an accolade that does nothing to diminish the simplicity and humility that have always been theirs.
from April 1st to May 22nd 2016.
By Yves Mirande