February 1st, 2009
True to form. HSBC Private Bank continued to expand its involvement in the bi-annual design fair with the showcase of a new collaboration with the Campana brothers - winners of the prestigious Design Miami 2008 Designer of the Year Award.
The internationally renowned Brazilian duo was commissioned to design the HSBC Private Bank, lounge providing a unique place for special guests at the fair. Reflecting Fernando and Humberto Campana's preference for mixing worlds and technique, the lounge incorporated elements of native Brazilian traditions to create the atmosphere and form of an Oca' (a traditional communal dwelling from the Amazonian forest).
Drawing inspiration from Brazilian street life and carnival culture the brothers combine found objects - such as scraps of wood and fabric off-cuts with advanced technologies to create a vibrant energetic and definitively Brazilian approach to design. Taking their cue from everyday scenarios and using unexpected combinations of found materials (from rubber hoses and tissue paper to string and furry toys), they transform modest materials into objects that celebrate the discarded and mundane and are installed with the spirit of contemporary Brazil that they describe as "zest for life".
Neither brother intended to be a designer Humberto, born in 1953, originally studied law, but began to design furniture in the mid-1980s after Fernando, born in 1961, had completed his architectural degree.Central to their practice is the importance of materials. The challenge, as the Campanos see it, is to transform something poor into something decadent and opulent. In the 'Vermelha' chair, the brothers tie and weave an abundance of brilliantly colored cord through a metal frame. Their 'Sushi' chair transforms strips of brightly colored plastic and carpet underlay into decorative rolls which then upholster a basic frame. This process of transformation has injected a new energy into contemporary design by presenting a bold, vibrant alternative to the rationalist ideals of the long dominant European modem movement.
The material tradition of Brazil is based on craftsmanship and economy of means. By experimenting with high and low-tech materials and using artisan techniques, the Campanas are able to harness the energies of their inherited tradition while defining a new aesthetic based on experimentation and advanced technologies. They have also created a fresh and surprising way of looking at things. By weaving the fabric of Sao Paulo into their objects, the brothers present a very personal portrait of their city. 'Our designs were born in the street. from the urban kitsch of the popular quarters and contact with nature.' they say, 'Whenever we can, we go back to our farm, Nature revitalizes our ideas.'
In addition to designing the HSBC Private Bank lounge (a principal sponsor of Design Miami), the Camparias presented a new installation at Design Miami entitled 'Diarnantina', an evolution of their 'TransPlastic' series originally unveiled at Albion Gallery, London, back in 2007. Using the native Brazilian Apui plant, which grows on and eventually chokes rainforest trees, the insulation featured this rattan-like fibre woven around ready-made plastic garden chairs and other plastic objects, such as discarded toys, dolls, flip-flops and tyres. Like the rainforest trees, the man-made objects are almost entirely swallowed up by the organic material symbolizing nature's triumph over the synthetic world Their installation expanded upon this concept by creating a series of biomorphic islands that visitors were encouraged to sit on and explore.