“We learn from the materials; they tell us what forms they should take” — Estúdio Campana
Friedman Benda is pleased to announce On the Road, a new exhibition by Estúdio Campana in New York. The show opens on March 7 and runs through April 20, 2024.
This is the fifth solo-show at the gallery for the studio and the first with Humberto Campana as sole principal designer, following the passing of his brother Fernando – the co-founder and co-visionary of the studio. On the Road marks the first of a series of exhibitions and inaugurations recognizing the 40th year anniversary of the studio.
With On the Road, Humberto opens a new chapter of the studio’s practice and his own. He invites spiritual perspectives, recent material influences and creative instinct, while continuing to explore and bring new context to local craft traditions across Brazil. The result is a body of work that signifies and communicates while celebrating spontaneity and intuition as equally stalwart values of the studio’s methodology.
This exhibition was born after a period of major change in Humberto’s life, which triggered a desire to reconnect with nature and spirituality, accentuated by Fernando’s passing. A return to the origins of the studio’s first groundbreaking designs, made with local raw materials took place, as well as a renewed dedication to his long-term mission of restoring native forests by planting trees in his hometown of Brotas.
The works in this exhibition reflect both the tension and dynamic of city life as well as the symbiotic potential of humanity and nature. With this complex convergence, Campana resurrects and presents familiar materials in new contexts. With adobe for example, an historically humble material made of clay, sand, and straw, used widely as a cost-efficient rural building material – he creates refined design elements.
Driven by the pulse of rediscovery, various materials came to the forefront, including aluminum. With the symmetrical scraps of aluminum cast off during industrial production, Humberto welded together exuberant forms that he translated into components for mirrors, lighting, and benches. The power of this work lies in the unexpected combination of material, a signature trait of the studio, and the delightful conceit of the finished forms.
Other new works incorporate this mélange of material and expression including those in the ‘Capim Dourado’ series; a buffet made of local Jequitibá wood and a new ‘Jalapão’ chair. In these works, the golden-toned fiber native to the Jalapão region in central Brazil, is spun into roundels and integrated into sophisticated artisanal forms. Iterations of older series showing the trajectory of the studio include ‘Ofidia’ lamps in new tones of color, and a ‘Branches’ bench alongside the ‘Arachnid’ chair – boldly sculpted forms covered in woven textile.
About Estúdio Campana
Co-founded in 1984 by brothers Fernando (1961-2022) and Humberto (1953) Campana, the Campana studio has achieved international recognition for its ground-breaking design. The studio celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2019, followed by “Campana Brothers: 35 Revolutions”, a major retrospective exhibition at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro in 2020.
Deeply rooted in Brazilian culture and traditions but also carrying universal values at its core, Campana studio creates their identity through life experiences. By incorporating the idea of transformation and reinvention, their creative process raises everyday materials to nobility.
Based in São Paulo, Campana is constantly investigating new possibilities within the design field: from furniture making to architecture, landscaping, fashion, scenography, and more. Bridging disciplines and encouraging the exchange of expertise among communities and artists are vital sources of inspiration, fresh repertoire, and free-thinking. Working with multiple brands and industries allows them to combine the best of craftsmanship, sustainable production practices and state-of-the-art technologies. Campana pieces are part of permanent collections of renowned cultural institutions such as Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Modern Art of Sao Paulo; and Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein.
As one of the world’s most influential and iconic designers, the Campana Brothers founded Instituto Campana in 2009 to preserve their ever-growing collection for future generations and to promote design as a tool for social transformation through cultural and educational programs.
In June 2024, the studio will soft open a public park in Brotas, a city 228 kilometers outside of São Paulo and the town where Fernando and Humberto Campana were born.