Humberto Campana (1953), began his “adult life” as a lawyer. But when his brother, Fernando Campana (1961), completed his architectural degree in the mid-80s, the Campana brothers seemed to say “fuck it, let’s make some badass furniture.”
“Our designs were born in the street, from the urban kitsch of the popular quarters and contact with nature,” they say. “Whenever we can, we go back to our farm. Nature revitalises our ideas.” In 1998 they had a show at MoMa (the first Brazilian artists to ever do so, might I add), and the rest is history.
Gaetano Pesce is an Italian artist above all, whose form of expression is furniture. His creations are uniquely beautiful, and often unexpectedly charming in large part because he uses materials in a way that is different than any one of his contemporaries. Pesce’s focus is on the individuality of the object – the beauty that can be found in the unexpected, the romanticism of hidden forms, and the joy that a piece of furniture, or jewelry, or clothes can bring not only to a home, but to one’s life. His goal is not perfection, but rather to celebrate the beauty of chance and the uniqueness of imperfections!
Woouf is a Spanish company that has taken a new approach to comfy. While pillows are soft and sweet, they are often beyond bland; and though bean bag chairs are a super comfy staple, they often look like formless, ugly blobs on your floor. Enter Woouf, whose goal is to make your life both more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, and a bit more goofy at the same time.
Inflatable items have a pretty tacky reputation. They are generally in the shape of a beach ball or pool float, brightly colored, cheaply made, and often covered in some sort of terrible pattern.
But it is possible to do quite a bit better in the inflatables department. Excellent blow-up furniture has been in production since the 60s. What began as a youth statement on how to utilize new materials and technology while accepting the reasonable impermanence of objects, evolved into a pretty excellent field of design. Here are some of the classic blow-up items, along with a handful of their new, more contemporary forms.
Have you ever sat around and dreamed of creating the coolest clubhouse or treehouse, or just making your bedroom into the best hang ever? Verner Panton certainly did. He was a Scandinavian designer who created a lot of amazing things in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, some of my favorite being the swinging chair, and his full environments. In these spaces Panton would carve out seats from soft foam in all sorts of bright colors to create spaces that resembled the most incredible space caves you could ever imagine. His creations were more than just furniture, they were actual fun, functional objects that made any room infinitely more rad!
The Swing Chair from 1964
Panton also designed a DIY sculpture/toy in 1975 called the Pantonaef for the Naef company. Essentially, you could buy a kit to build all sorts of different animals – elephants, cat, cow, fish, owl, etc. Inside the box would be a number of basic cubes that you would then have to clip together to create the sculpture of your choice. The last step was to then place colored panels on top of your sculpture and voila, your own homebuilt amazing toy!