For many years, the Campana brothers’ astonishing inventions have favoured design and home décor magazines. The velvet-upholstered Boa sofa and the Sushi rag chair are Edra’s signature pieces, demonstrating the company’s remarkable position in the competitive world of design. Following his law degree, Humberto became a goldsmith and sculptor, while Fernando went on to become an architect. They founded a studio together in the early 1980s. They began producing works that defied conventional boundaries, even in terms of material selection. Some of the materials appeared to have been manufactured in high-tech laboratories. In contrast, others appeared to have originated in the slums of Sao Paulo (the brothers’ hometown). Tubes, wooden slats, cloth remnants, ropes, and bamboo canes are frequently used by the Campanas. Favela, a chair fashioned from small pieces of wood held together with glue and nails, is a well-known example.
Many Campana furniture items are made up of a huge number of identical components. These components are sometimes joined to produce lavish, luxury goods, and other times, like in the case of Alessi’s Blow Up bowls and coasters, they are put together to create considerably smaller products. This ‘piecemeal’ design approach is mixed with deft improvisation. This skill is often necessary for survival in Sao Paulo’s slums. The materials of the individual sculptures appear to have not been glued together in the normal industrial manner: configurations appear haphazard and spontaneous at times as if determined by an artist’s hand. This random principle gives the appearance of instability and vibrancy, associations that make the viewer feel apprehensive. The Boa sofa’s interlaced velvet tubes, for example, look to create a mound of snakes. The effect is so convincing that the object appears to be moving. The Sushi chair appears to be incomplete, with a pile of garments thrown on top of it. The Campanas have also worked with Bayer, a chemical business, to produce a new flooring manufactured from a special artificial resin. Hardwood slats have been merged as if they were strewn across the ground.
Polster, B. (2006). The A-Z of modern design. Merrell.
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