Campana Brothers Select: Works from the Permanent Collection

About the Exhibition

  • Photo: Andrew Garn

  • Manufacturing Emotions


    “In studying Cooper-Hewitt’s permanent collection, our attention was drawn to a broad range of objects, with no obvious relation among them. Rather than limit our selection method, we decided to simply adopt the basic criterion of “I like that”—just as we usually do while we are creating. We ventured into the collection prepared to be seduced by design, with no preconceived judgments. In our spontaneous and openhearted choices, we attempted to form alliances between concepts that seemed familiar despite the boundaries of time, function, and language.

    We came up with a list of more than forty works, ranging from book illustrations to furniture and intricate textiles. We detected functions and processes in them which fascinated us and established a connection with our own creations. As if exploring a cave, we searched for small details or entire objects, choosing pieces that the common eye does not normally perceive beyond their intended function. All of the items selected have in common a certain dreamy state of mind and perception, a touch of humor, and an intrinsic relation to the material, our primary source. What intrigued us was the notion of interweaving: not only interlacing threads, but also when colors, forms, and textures combine to create a new composition before our eyes and stimulate our emotions.

    Our goal is to create through these objects a bridge between design and poetry, the hidden desires of wellbeing, the fantasies of daily life. We want to bring not only a dream, but also rupture, into design. Making furniture is our method of breaking boundaries—a combination of joy and investigation. Museums taught us to look underneath the object and discover the arts and crafts of our work. In return, we wish to give Cooper-Hewitt our perspective on how emotions are created, which expresses the subtle line between art and everything in the creative world.”

    –Fernando and Humberto Campana

Browse the collection: creating texture, entwining, inspiring arrow, morphing nature, quizzical delicacy, solid dreams, whimsy kaleidoscope
The above tags were provided by the Campana Brothers as an alternative way of organizing the objects in the exhibition.