Quirky, whimsical and wildly amazing are just some of the adjectives that have been used to describe the works of the Campana brothers. Always a highlight at international design fairs, the Brazilian duo, Fernando and Humberto, achieved success with their first solo exhibition in São Paulo in 1989. They then went on to create furniture, lighting, and homeware collections that are highly sought after by collectors and discerning homeowners. These range from the plush but veiny Grinza armchair for furniture brand Edra, to the Banquete chair made with stuffed toys, and a series of hand-blown glass chandeliers in a myriad of dazzling colours for Lasvit called the Candy collection.
Known for their playful take on conventional household items, the designers produce works that blur the lines between form, function, and art to surprising effect. So it was a leap of faith when homeowners Solange Ricoy, founder and CEO of Alexandria Group, and Stefano Zunino approached them to design their house from the ground up.
While the Campana studio boasts an interior design portfolio featuring recently completed projects such as Hôtel Lutetia in Paris, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and their very own Campana café in the French Musée d’Orsay, this is its very first private residence undertaking.
The property in São Paulo’s upmarket Jardim Paulista vicinity sits on a long, narrow plot of land the owners had acquired over seven years ago, but it was 15 years ago that they had moved to São Paulo and befriended the designers, acquiring from them several pieces, including a cardboard table, a Labirinto bookshelf, and custom-made bar and stools. For Zunino, CEO for Latin America and worldwide head of digital with advertising firm J Walter Thompson, commissioning the brothers to take on the home project was significant as they could express the Brazilian lifestyle and culture through their work.
“Privacy is of utmost importance to the family so we needed a facade that would prevent passersby from looking in. Yet it was also essential that the home remained airy, with a cross-ventilation of natural breeze leading into the back garden,” Ricoy explains. This would allow the family, including the couple’s sons Niccoló, Costantino, and Matteo, and daughter Benedetta, to enjoy the best of outdoor and indoor living.
The couple’s other requirement was a multi-levelled bookcase as a focal highlight of the home. “It had to be large enough to accommodate 1,000 titles,” Ricoy says.
Long and Short of it
With the land being a mere 14-metre-wide, the designers’ concept had to optimise the available space. “This home design became an exercise in volume, light, and functionality,” Humberto says.
At the same time, the brothers were careful not to deck the home interiors with too much of their own furniture designs. “It would’ve been very dictatorial if we had done that,” Fernando says. “It’s not a Campana showroom.”
The result of their creative genius is a fourstorey abode, designed to capture maximum sunlight. Style-wise, it took the studio some time to come to an agreement with the homeowners on what the final look should be.
“There was the favela style, then Brazilian Baroque, and then we came back to a simple, very South American tropical look, which is the Campanas’ style, with hints of Italian design,” Ricoy says. “It’s a fusion that reflects us: my husband is Italian, and I am Argentine.”
Words by Young Lim | Photography by Leonardo Finotti | Additional Photos Courtesy of Estudio Campana