Furniture but not as we know it: Marco Campardo’s radical designs

Melissa Bradford

As a boy or girl growing up in a small town outdoors Venice, Marco Campardo would regularly support his father, a carpenter, in his workshop. But it would get yrs for Campardo to recognize the price of that craft and return to it in his personal observe, immediately after an interlude as a graphic designer. Quick forward to 2023, and Campardo has just been awarded the Ralph Saltzman Prize for his creative furnishings, which will be exhibited at the Structure Museum in London (February 2 to April 3).

“Nowadays I can definitely appreciate and recognize how essential that marriage was in the workshop with my father through my childhood,” he claims. Campardo, who now life in London, even collaborated with his father on a person challenge, George (2019, ongoing), comprising home furnishings created by gluing collectively levels of discarded elements from wooden veneer creation.

George is one particular of the tasks that will be on exhibit at the Design Museum. The prize celebrates rising product or service designers and was set up in 2021 by Lisa Saltzman, on behalf of the Saltzman Spouse and children Foundation, in honour of her father Ralph — the late co-founder of textile enterprise Designtex. Campardo was nominated along with four other designers.

As properly as home furniture pieces for public and private customers, Campardo styles exhibitions and site-specific installations, like at the Macro Museum in Rome, Tate Present day in London and different national pavilions at the Venice Artwork and Architecture Biennales. This April his do the job will be exhibited at Milan Layout 7 days.

Campardo is pushed by method and experimentation. “Most of the time, strategies appear from experimenting with my arms, alternatively of drawing,” he suggests. “Otherwise I really do not get psyched. It is so unique setting up from finding a system and looking at what you can do, somewhat than drawing anything and then getting the right technique to produce that shape. Mainly because for me, one particular is design, and one particular is decoration.”

The George coffee table (2019, ongoing)
The George coffee table (2019, ongoing), manufactured of discarded supplies from wooden veneer manufacturing

The get the job done he feels ideal expresses this technique is Jello (2022, ongoing). Shaping polyurethane resin with a rotational moulding strategy, Campardo will make Tetris-like, colourful home furniture. He makes use of timber frames and cardboard to forged the playful, chunky objects the curves and wrinkles from the card are imprinted on the floor of every single item.

“For me it is crucial that the object remains functional,” claims Campardo. Even when he tends to make a seat held together by sugar, you can nevertheless sit on it. For a store window display at Selfridges in London he designed demountable block-dependent tables and cabinets, known as Reversible, binding granular expanded clay with melted sugar.

Although Campardo’s items mirror his inclination for experimentation, they also in shape into his suggestions about the evolving purpose of furnishings structure. “I think we are living in a second in which id is quite vital, primarily for the clients,” he says. “Having parts at dwelling that are special assists mirror the fact that they are distinctive as a man or woman.”

Reversible, displayed in a Selfridges shop window (2022)
Reversible, a seat held collectively by sugar, displayed in a Selfridges shop window (2022)

“I feel these customers are not just seeking for artwork you can hold on the wall and admire, they are hunting for artwork that is spread out through the residence,” he states. “Filling this gap with items that can be considered artwork but are nevertheless purposeful is quite important in my practice.”

His technique aims to beat the Instagram-pushed, international shipping and delivery-enabled homogenisation of interiors. “Instead of possessing one more Eames desk that is identical to the rest of the globe, you get something that is exceptional but can continue to be made use of.”

This necessitates financial commitment — no low cost mass-created items right here — but Campardo is aware of there are potential buyers ready to just take the leap. “There are good collectors that are pretty brave and devote in youthful designers and product makers,” he claims. “They can truly feel the prospective of developing a assortment that is not dependent only on founded or past designers — but also present-day designers.”

The Elle chair (2019, ongoing)
The Elle chair (2019, ongoing), solid brass coated in holographic car paint

This technology of younger designers also addresses sustainability much more explicitly, and shies absent from “greenwashing”. Campardo is passionate when explaining that for a solution to be actually sustainable, it really should be recyclable, not just recycled. Using recycled materials, he claims, is not good ample.

“Most of the time, recycling is downcycling,” he adds. “Downcycling means you are applying a materials that possibly can be recycled but then you blend it with other elements that are not recyclable. You are not solving the dilemma, you are incorporating new problems for the foreseeable future.”

Even though craft, the upcoming of the house and sustainability are all obviously essential for Campardo, his obsession lies in material experimentation, and this will be evident at the Style Museum exhibit via samples, photographs and moulds displaying his get the job done processes. As component of the prize, he will obtain a £5,000 bursary to support his work.

Campardo was nominated by Edward Barber of the London-centered industrial structure studio Barber Osgerby — a practice he admires. “I started out by speculating with style, and now I am receiving a prize for industrial designers,” Campardo suggests. “It’s confirming the fact we require to rethink the way we perceive industrial design. The earth is hunting for responses that are much less common, less canonic, additional experimental.”

Other shortlisted designers for The Ralph Saltzman Prize 2023

Rio Kobayashi
Nominated by multidisciplinary designer Bethan Laura Wooden, Kobayashi experiments with fabrication approaches to make playful wood furniture and domestic objects.

Joseph Y Ewusie
Owning properly trained in product style and design, Ewusie seeks to make objects that tell tales, drawing inspiration from various resources, including his British-Ghanaian heritage. He was nominated by artist and designer Yinka Ilori.

Simón Ballen Botero
Nominated by interiors and furnishings designer Ilse Crawford, Ballen Botero is effective in collaboration with artisans all-around the entire world, working with community products to make attractive objects.

Timi Oyedeji
London-based mostly Oyedeji, nominated by industrial designer Jon Marshall, uses emerging technologies to establish the way we approach interactions amongst human and pcs.

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