6 Questions for Fernando & Humberto Campana
Humberto (left) & Fernando Campana (right)
Photo: Fernando Laszlo
Tell us about your studio and what projects you're currently working on.
Our studio is very far from what people imagine. We are based in a very low-profile neighborhood, close to the historical center of São Paulo. We have two small pavilions separated by a court yard. From the outside, one will image that it is a one story warehouse, but in fact, we have a second floor, beneath the level of the street. In the front building, we have a meeting area and part of the workshops on the basement. The building on the back takes on the rest of the workshops and a small kitchen area. From this workshop we access a second floor where the offices are.
We are undertaking projects of several natures at the moment, including a curatorial commission for a Brazilian museum, 2 private homes (a novelty for us), not to mention a project of a hotel that we have been developing for the past couple of years. We have also been involved with a retrospective exhibition that the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein (Germany) is dedicating to us.
Can you describe your team?
We are twelve people in the studio: the two of us, seven people in the office (3 architects, 1 personal assistants, 1 finance responsible, 1 press responsible, and 1 intern) and 3 people in the workshop production (2 seamstresses and 1 artisan that has been with us for almost 15 years).
Having worked together for over 25 years now, are there roles you each typically play in any given project? Do you divide up the tasks, or collaborate at every stage?
H: Typically, I start on the product design and Fernando polishes and finishes the object at a later stage. When we do architectural projects, or are commissioned to intervene in a space, Fernando, being an architect, leads the way, leaving me to the task of giving inputs on colors, finishes, atmospheres.
Nowadays, our work is so diversified that each time we approach a project in a different way. There is no defined pattern. There is a lot to do with the affinity each one feels with each project too. We each have complementary skills that balance each other, but we also have a team of people we rely on to amplify the horizons.
The Corallo is your third shoe for Melissa, can you describe the development process you went through and how you approached this one differently?
We are always free to create what we like within the brief that comes from Melissa. For this collection, Melissa sent us the mold of a pump shoe on top of which we shaped aluminum wires retorted as the Corallo chair.
We created 2-3 variations during the prototype process. It's very rewarding working with Melissa/Grendene, they always embrace our challenges and find technical solutions. We also managed to implement a minimum percentage of recycled PVC into the final colored shoe, which is groundbreaking in our opinion.
You've mentioned in several interviews that your work is informed by the materials, often celebrating the humanization of handmade objects. What challenges did you face applying these ideals to a mass-produced object?
The challenge is more on the side of the companies that have to adapt our handmade approach to work into an industrial scale. We have been lucky that all the companies we have worked with embrace the challenge and meet up our expectations in all possible ways.
Just one final question: Are there any up-and-coming Brazilian designers that we should keep an eye on?
We are really fond of Tete Knecht, Mana Bernardes, Rodrigo Almeida, and Carol Gay.