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Colour Carnival: Humberto Campana on new collaboration with Lasvit at Salone del Mobile

JUN 7, 2016 | By as told to Pramiti Madhavji
Born in Sao Paulo, brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana have always been inspired by Brazil’s vibrant culture and street life. Their products are usually made of everyday materials and incorporate traditional crafting techniques.
We spoke to Humberto Campana at the recently concluded Salone del Mobile on their design philosophy and their latest collaboration with Czech lighting brand Lasvit.
ELLE DECOR: How did you begin working with eco materials like wicker, bamboo and natural fibres? Was it a conscious decision?
Humberto Campana: My brother and I have been working together for 35 years – at the start of our journey, we didn’t have any funds or investors to finance our projects or purchase any sophisticated tools. With an aim to give a different functionality to things that already existed, we decided to look around for what was available. We started with cardboard and moved to bubble wrap and garden roses but we were very particular about not wanting to include precious wood from the Amazon forests that was being widely used. Instead, we decided to take another path and choose materials like bamboo that could be sourced without causing any heinous damage to nature.
ED: With a project, what do you focus on first – the product or the material? How do local arts play a role in what you do?
HC: The material and technique drive us to the final object. Brazil, just like India, is replete with various craft forms that need to be encouraged and supported. We are trying to rescue these traditions that are disappearing by working with artisans. We try to open their minds by showing them how they can utilise their skills to create something that’s more acceptable.
ED: How long have you been associated with Lasvit?
HC: Our association with Lasvit began two years ago. In 2015,  we showcased a collection of chandeliers at Salone and this year we have extended it with our new line of tableware. When we first visited their mill, it was reminiscent of a candy factory, where the glass and length of its sticks  were akin to caramel. Since Fernando and I are surrounded by vibrant colours all the time, it was easy for us to envision this new line.
ED: Where do you think design is headed in the near future?
HC: Design needs more responsibility in terms of what and how we are going to develop. I think it is important today as it has an integral role in society. For instance, people can help rescue traditions that are disappearing by incorporating these in their industries ergo provide social income for artisans; investing in new technology and creating new materials that don’t harm the environment.
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