The Campana Brothers' exhibition at New York City's Friedman Benda gallery marks not only the duo's first solo show in the U.S. but also the 30th anniversary of the studio. Simply titled Concepts, the exhibition delivers exactly that with a collection of superbly well-executed one-off pieces made from exotic materials and their signature labor-intensive handcraft techniques. At first glance, it's a natural materials-fest: showstoppers include the "Pirarucu Cabinet," a free standing dresser upholstered in pirarucu fish scales; the Boca (Portuguese for "mouth") collection covered in patches of cowhide; and an incredible "Alligator Sofa," 'upholstered' with tiny stuffed leather alligator toys by Orientavida, an NGO that teaches underprivileged women embroidery skills.
The heavy emphasis on material experimentation and any notions of sustainability are reinforced with the galleries walls and floor covered entirely in a coconut fiber matting, imparting a womb-like warmth and suggesting a humble setting for what can only be described as design collectibles. Freed from the constraints of designing for production, the brothers have taken the opportunity to explore ideas, processes and forms without concern for outcome, in fact it feels very much like the objects themselves (be it a table or chair) are just a means of demonstrating proof-of-concept for new techniques.
One of the most iconic pieces in show—a tough call, given how much everything begs for attention—is the "Racket Chair (Tennis)," featuring a hand-stitched motif made from remnant backings of Thonet chairs. Another striking piece, made from leftovers, is the "Detonado Chair," which is crafted out of the scraps of caning that are discarded after a chair is repaired (At the press preview, Humberto joked that it took a lot of persuasion to convince the artisan to seriously consider producing a chair for them with these worthless scraps).
The exhibition runs till July 3rd and all the highlights can be seen in our latest gallery here.
515 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
Through July 3, 2013
Hours: Mon - Sat, 10:00 - 6:00