Brazilian designers Humberto and Fernando Campana will receive the prestigious Designer of the Year Award at this year's Design Miami/.
"We are thrilled to be able to give the Designer of the Year Award to the Campana brothers, who have made such a significant contribution to contemporary mass manufactured as well as limited edition design," Ambra Medda, Design Miami/ Director comments. "Their joyful and exuberant work incorporates discarded and repurposed objects, numerous references to culture both sophisticated and street, and a loving yet frank social commentary on their native Brazil. They have opened the door for a new generation of designers by creating a language that questions received ideas about Modernism and design."
In keeping with Design Miami/ tradition, the Campana brothers will create an installation designed exclusively for the December show to be presented within the central courtyard of the fair's new temporary structure designed by New York architects ArandaLasch.
The installation, entitled Diamantina, will represent an evolution of their TransPlastic series, which was unveiled at Albion Gallery in London in 2007. Using the native Brazilian plant Apui, which grows on and eventually chokes rainforest trees, TransPlastic designs feature this rattan-like fiber woven around ready-made plastic garden chairs and other plastic objects, such as discarded toys, dolls, flip-flops and tires. Like the rainforest trees, the man-made objects are almost entirely swallowed up by the organic material, symbolizing nature's triumph over the synthetic world. The Campana brothers will expand on this concept at Design Miami/, introducing native Brazilian amethyst crystals into the weave-structure, creating a series of biomorphic islands that visitors will be encouraged to sit on and explore. Brazil represents one of the most abundant and vital sources of amethyst quartz, and the combination of the colorful crystals and woven grass fiber will celebrate nature as an essential building block and touchstone of design.
"This project grows out of the TransPlastic series, where we have sought the purity of form inspired by grottos and caves. It is our own journey to the center of earth, like Jules Verne's book. Complementing this idea, Diamantina is built in a way that the seats are sculpted along the form creating a new mode of comfort and interaction. Proposing a more subtle connection, it is a more meditative kind of experiment" comments the brothers. They add, "The inspiration for the name alludes to the precious stones incrusted into the piece, and is also the name of a small town in the central part of Brazil. There, all different kinds of stones and crystals are sold like candy on the street markets. The city is ugly and seems as if it was lost in time, continuing to live quietly on the heart of Brazil. By its mixture of materials, both poor by the wicker and precious by the combination with the natural amethyst, as the city, Diamantina piece evokes the same sensation of long forgotten poetry."
In addition to their Designer of the Year installation, the Campana Brothers are also designing a lounge for principal sponsor HSBC Private Bank, which traditionally offers a VIP lounge for collectors and special guests at Design Miami/ and at Design Miami/Basel.
Humberto and Fernando Campana were born in 1953 and 1961, and trained respectively in law and architecture. They began working together in the mid-1980s, designing furniture inspired by their home city São Paolo. Combining high and low tech processes, the Campana brothers trawl the flotsam and jetsam of Brazilian city life, using 'poor' materials to create expressive and sumptuous objects. Their witty, iconic designs have been manufactured by leading Italian companies, including Edra, Alessi and Cappellini.
"They are designers we have been captivated by for years," Craig Robins, Design Miami/'s Principal explains. "The Campanas form a bridge between commercial production, handicraft, and the possibilities of limited edition design. Their work emanates from Brazilian urban culture, yet they also transcend their roots through designs that are just as relevant in New York, Berlin or Tokyo. Their installation promises to be a central talking point of this year's Design Miami/."
Design Miami/ announced that this year's prestigious Designer of the Year Dinner will be co-hosted by Sergey Polonsky and Dmitry Lutsenko of MIRAX Group, the leading Russian developer. This exclusive event brings together top design luminaries, celebrities, and taste-makers from around the globe, to honor the extraordinary talent and influence of our 2008 Designer of the Year Award winners. "We are honored to be the first Russian developers to take part in Design Miami/ and are proud sponsors of the Designer of the Year Dinner," says Mr. Dmitry V. Lutsenko, member of the Board of Directors of the MIRAX GROUP.