A silent dialog that fills the dense plot of our days, leaving an indelible trace of fondness. That of our relationship to objects, those artifacts with which we surround ourselves, in which we instil meaning. Speaking with Humberto Campana of the famous design duo of Brazilian brothers, it is clear how his personal experience has a strong influence on design, which thus become like a travel journal, a snapshot of daily life or even the signature of social commitment. These iconic objects, children of this sustainable design, best represent Humberto and Fernando Campana: unique, inspired, contemporaries and wonderfully humble.
What is the current condition of design?
Today, it is like a political hardware store; a form of humanitarianism aid and aid to the planet. We must pay attention to all the rapid changes happening worldwide. In this way, designers hold a very powerful tool in their hands because their product is in continuous interaction with people’s lives. Think of the communities in northern Brazil: these social aggregates are disappearing along with their traditions, thus carrying them forward by way of design would mean a lot. Therefore, it is clear that design has implications that go deeper than pure aesthetics.
How does a city like Sao Paolo respond to the demands of contemporary design?
San Paolo and Milan are almost like twins, the energy is very similar, tough but extremely fascinating; it is a city that never sleeps, almost like the Manhattan of Latin America, full of skyscrapers and helicopters. It is not a metropolis that opens itself up easily, like Rio de Janeiro; you have to get to know it, discover all its nooks and crannies alongside its inhabitants. For the last 10 years the design scene in Sao Paulo and all over Brazil has changed very rapidly, and the Campana brothers are not the only ones demonstrating this evolution; there is also a whole new generation that we have influenced with the culture of design our ideas of free expression. More people are talking about this “design language” because they understand it, and globalization has certainly contributed to that.
The modus operandi of Campana: do you use a single, systematic approach to all your projects?
It is a challenge to treat every current projects differently; whether they are huge or microscopic, my approach is always the same: passion and love. Having the freedom to choose what I love to do is the engine that drives me every day; I was a lawyer and I left the profession to have this freedom. An artist has to have it. To be able to dabble in different universes: fashion, design, art, or any other that inspires me. The 21st century, above all, continuously reinforces the idea of hybrid figures that break barriers; what has to remain is the passion in affronting any job challenge. On a daily basis, I approach all projects with my gut and with lots of intuition. I allow myself to be inspired by dreams and suggestions, that sometimes become real and personal obsessions. Often these ideas turn into projects, but it doesn’t happen automatically.
Do you have very defined roles in your professional partnership?
No (he laughs). To tell you the truth, we’ve never defined any type of role. It is a relationship between brothers that isn’t easy to manage in the scope of business partners, you need to reach compromises, and luckily in our case, the perpetual conflicts have always been positive and stimulating.
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