Humberto Campana: “We are storytellers”

Superstar Brazilian designer Humberto Campana will be in Adelaide this month to speak at the Asia Pacific Space Designers Alliance (APSDA), which will be held in Australia for the first time in September.

Humberto is one-half of the charismatic Campana team with his brother Fernando Campana. The pair has been designing furniture and interiors since 1983. Humberto took some time to speak with The Adelaide Review about his upcoming trip to South Australia, the meaning of innovation and what he sees as the future of design. Known for its inventive and playful practice, Campana often uses common or easily found items and re-uses them to produce high-end furniture pieces. “We are storytellers,” Humberto says of their design philosophy. “We create bridges between disciplines, sometimes we touch design, sometimes we touch art, architecture or interiors. Our design universe is oneiric and can be surreal.” humberto-fernando-campana-adelaide-review There is a real sense of wanting to retain tradition, as well as a sense of craft, in their products. “Where we can, we take positive actions in our production process,” he says. “We try to humanise design by working with communities of artisans to recover traditions that are disappearing and to produce not only pieces of contemporary design but also income and recognition for these communities.” Among many things, the Campana brothers are known for their quirky use or re-use of materials, including stuffed animals, rope, aluminium, leather and wire. “I always say that we are alchemists,” he says. “I like the process of transforming simple and ordinary materials into something luxurious. Like turning a [cubic] zirconia into a diamond.” humberto-fernando-campana-adelaide-review Humberto and his brother are not bound to furniture design, having created successful site-specific art installations at Umeå’s contemporary art museum Bildmuseet in Sweden, a hotel interior in Athens and a furniture showroom in São Paulo with architects SuperLimão Studio. They were also the first Brazilian artists to exhibit their work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, along with German lighting designer Ingo Maurer in 1998.

humberto-fernando-campana-adelaide-reviewCampanas / Woods as exhibited at Bildmuseet

Humberto will be presenting a keynote speech at the conference which will see more than 500 design delegates visit our city from across the Asia-Pacific region. The Design Institute of Australia (DIA) was fortunate to win the bid to host this year’s conference and general assembly. This is a significant achievement as it will be the first time in the program’s 18-year history that it has been held in Australia. Asia Pacific Space Designers Alliance Adelaide Convention Centre Saturday, September 24 to Monday, September 26 apsdaaustralia.com.au campanas.com.br

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