Fernando Campana, Provocateur of Furniture Design, Is Dead at 61
And its make-do culture, using whatever is at hand, which often led to comical scenes in settings like museums. There was the time they sent their Bubble Wrap chair, packed in a box in Bubble Wrap, to a show in Rio. As they told Wallpaper magazine in 2020, “When we arrived to check on the exhibition, the chair was absolutely destroyed. The crew who received it kept on peeling off the sheets, looking for the chair! Luckily it was an easy fix, as all we had to do was run to the office supplies store and replace the plastic sheets.”
The brothers were symbiotic, finishing each other’s thoughts, if not each other’s sentences. Interviewers often quoted them speaking as one.
“A remarkable ‘they,’” said Murray Moss, the design impresario who for years sold the Campana brothers’ work from his gallery-like store in New York City. “My experience of them as people is they weren’t designing anything, they were jumping off a cliff.”
He described an adventure with the brothers at Venini, the centuries-old glass factory in Murano, Italy, to make a series of exquisite bells, one of many commissions he gave them, though they didn’t decide on what exactly they were going to design until they were inside the factory.
“The factory is groups of men around a fire,” Mr. Moss continued. “The brothers walked in basically wearing bathing suits. They thought it was going to be hot. They didn’t realize they had to protect themselves. Fernando fainted that first day. But then the next day they began to design, which was essentially an improvisation of sketching and yelling: Classic bell shape, go! Add two handles, go! We did 150 bells. I was very proud to be with them.”
Fernando Piva Campana was born on May 19, 1961, in Brotas, a small country town outside of São Paulo, the youngest of three brothers. His father, Alberto, was an agronomic engineer; his mother, Célia (Piva) Campana, was a teacher. Fernando studied architecture at the University Center of Fine Arts of São Paulo. In addition to Humberto, Fernando is survived by another brother, José.
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