To celebrate the spirit of the Chinese New Year, I felt inspired to write about The Campana Brothers’ Vermelha chair. I covet it in red which is in keeping with the Chinese tradition of using red to symbolize festivity. This chair is a feat in blending art and design, and also craftsmanship with marketability.
The Vermelha chair was originally designed in 1993 by Fernando and Humberto Campana for a gallery show in Sao Paolo. The labor on the piece was certainly intense as one can imagine. It requires countless hours of handweaving 500 meters of rope around a steel frame. It was stunning to look at, but difficult to reconcile into a commercial success. However, the art director of Edra, Massimo Morozzi, saw the image in a book and phoned the Campana Brothers upon seeing it. They hashed it out, even though it was inconceivable to the original artists, that it could be produced worldwide and marketed as “the chair requires 450 meters of rope woven in a very imprecise way.” They threw around ideas. Then, Estudio and Humberto Campana created a step-by-step video of how to reproduce the chair and Edra followed their lead.
The Vermelha chair is now one of Edra’s bestsellers, although currently it is semi-mass produced. It comes in various colors, but I think the red is fabulous because it is as iconic as is the chair itself.
“For me, the Vermelha chair is an homage to chaos. It’s a portrait of Brazil, a melting pot of culture and races and represents how fragmented my life always is or was, and I try to manifest that idea into a kind of chair that is chaotic in its very construction.”
Courtesy of Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Decor Advisor, Edra, Campana Brothers, Design Boom