The Favela Chair influenced a generation of designers, says Humberto Campana

Most Loved: Brazilian designer Humberto Campana explains why the Favela Chair is one the designs he is most proud of in the next movie from our exclusive video series.

Favela chair by Campana brothers

Constructed from strips of wood seemingly nailed and glued together at random, Campana built the first Favela Chair in the early 1990s at his studio in São Paulo, Brazil, which he runs together with his brother Fernando.

Favela chair by Campana brothers

"The first Favela Chair was produced near a fruit market, where there are plenty of slats of wood," Campana explains in the movie, which Dezeen filmed in Milan.

"I used glue and nails to connect one piece of wood to another with no rationality. The only rationality in that project was to construct irrationality."

Favela chair by Campana brothers

Favela is the Brazilian word for a slum or shanty town. Campana explains that the chair was inspired by the resourcefulness of São Paulo's shanty dwellers, who live in homes constructed from whatever timber offcuts they can find.

"The idea of the Favela chair was born from observing how part of the population in Brazil construct their lives, the way they construct their homes," he says.

Favela chair by Campana brothers

The Campana brothers are renowned for using off-the-peg materials such as wood, rope and even soft children's toys to create furniture.

The Favela Chair is one of their most famous designs and is included in the collections of museums around the world, including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Favela chair by Campana brothers

Despite drawing from the street culture of São Paulo, the Favela Chair is not intended as an overtly political statement. Rather, Campana believes the chair has proven popular because of its simple materials and construction method.

In particular, he says the chair demonstrated that designers don't need access to expensive machinery or tooling to create highly successful products.


"The Favela Chair is one of my favourite pieces because it points out a way to construct a chair without so much technology," he says.

"It brings a message of hope – hope in the sense that anyone can produce this. This chair influenced a whole generation of young designers, which I’m very proud of."

Favela chair by Campana brothers

Since 2002, the Favela Chair has been produced by Italian furniture company Edra. Handmade from strips of pine or teak, every chair is slightly different and takes over a week to produce.

Favela chair by Campana brothers

Campana reveals that he taught Edra's factory workers how to produce the chair himself.

"It was interesting to teach the workers of the factory and I created a kind of workshop with them," he explains."Little by little, they started getting my philosophy."

Humberto Campana portrait
Humberto Campana

This video interview was filmed by Dezeen in Milan. The Favela Chair was provided by Edra and shot by Dezeen in London.

Most Loved is a collaboration between Dezeen and car brand MINI celebrating design objects that have found a special place in people's hearts. Over the coming months, we will be interviewing some of the world's leading designers about their most popular and enduring designs.

You can watch all the movies as we publish them on our special Most Loved microsite: