The designer Fernando Campana died this Wednesday the 16th in São Paulo. The information was released by Gallery Luciana Brito, which did not disclose the cause of death of the 61yearold artist from São Paulo.
Half of the duo formed with his brother Humberto, he has become known over the past three decades for designing furniture made mostly of unusual materials, such as armchairs upholstered in teddy bears. However, his work also extends to the areas of interior design, architecture, landscaping, scenography, art and fashion.
Fernando has a degree in architecture and was the youngest of the brothers who both grew up in Brotas in central São Paulo. Humberto, in turn, had a law degree. The two have already signed projects for companies such as Alessi, Baccarat, Edra, Fendi, H. Stern, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Melissa.
The Campanas established themselves as a force in national design against the tide of the constructivist, Corbusierian underpinning always prevalent in the tropics, promoted by Oscar Niemeyer.
The bold handling of materials, the fearless inclusion of pop culture, kitsch, and allegorical carnivalesque were always in the foreground of the projects. But the base had a deep connection with the mischievous ambivalence of our design, one foot in Scandinavian cleanliness, in the lustrous curves of the Swiss Max Bill and the other in the samba school’s cooked courtyard.
The design of the campanas, which fearlessly and much more effectively faced the excesses of a Philippe Starck, is exaggerated, as the Brazilian baroque style demands and allows. It is modeled on the banality of the Chinese teddy bear on March 25th and at the same time the inventiveness of the Caiçara lacemakers, leather workers in the Northeast.
There is irreverence in the work of the designer brothers, who eventually crossed the threshold of industrial design and entered the realm of contemporary art, as evidenced by the brothers’ recent exhibition, now on view at São Paulo’s Luciana Brito gallery, which includes Elements of art pop with clear references to the excellence of Brazilian gambiarra.
The readymade, cloaked for decades and ruthlessly woven into the fabric of art, held a prominent place in the duo’s poetics. The Campana brothers’ firepower has always had kerosene as a very keen antenna for the zeitgeist, from the sweetened aesthetic of the pop world’s favela to the drafting of identity guidelines based on the most profitable and visible viral furniture.
“Brazil is not a Cartesian country, it’s full of mixtures,” Fernando Campana said in an interview with about how the country inspires her work sheettwo years ago.
Back then, in March 2020, the brothers were featured with an exhibition at MAM in Rio de Janeiro that brought together 80 pieces created by the duo over their 35year career, including armchairs, sofas, rugs, chandeliers and furniture. “This is particularly attractive for children, it will be a problem for the security of the museum,” joked Fernando Campana at the time🇧🇷
“Today there are no longer any borders between the arts, you can even appear as a gardener. We work with costumes, scenography, landscaping, architecture, sculpture,” he said on the same occasion.
In 2009, the brothers founded Instituto Campana, which seeks to salvage craft techniques, work with social inclusion, and preserve the duo’s work. There’s an armchair with leather teddy bears made by women associated with men in the prison system inside São Paulo, or a carpet with rag dolls sewn by women from inside Paraíba.