Red Rubber Balls

What five-year-old wouldn’t love a chair made of red rubber balls? Of course they’re not rubber (our materials have matured since those innocent days) but foam balls. Still the playground feel is the same.

The Bolas Chair is a product of those masters of wit and whimsy, Fernando and Humberto Campana, of Sao Paolo, Brazil. The Campana brothers, whose work straddles the line between art and design, are spectacular entertainers. The Bolas Chair was born at a Campana brothers lecture at Parson’s School of Design in 2000. Sitting in the audience was Shiya Mangel, a product design and textile student and daughter of Larry Mangel, president and founder of Bozart. “They were so much fun and we’re so much about that,” Shiya says. “I called my father the minute the speech ended. I said, ‘You’ve got to talk to these guys.’”

After a brief courtship (the Campanas first called friends like Paola Antonelli and asked about Bozart), work began. Each of the 72 balls has a laser-cut hole; the balls are strung onto the tubular steel frame like beads.

“It started with a pencil sketch,” Larry Mangel says. The Campanas roughed out the idea and left its technical execution to Bozart (who collaborated with Pure Design). The Campanas have not seen the completed prototype—they worked on it via jpegs—so their first look at it will be at ICFF, along with the rest of us.

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