Interview: Nido Campolongo – Sustainable Practices in Design
“Nido Campolongo, who originally worked as a typographer with his father in São Paulo, is a graphic and product designer as well as a plastic artist. He uses paper, cardboard and their derivatives to construct his objects witch evolve from graphic pieces, into usual pieces and furniture. Campolongo recycles the industrial waste and cellulose by-products left over from the manufacture of paper and cardboard. The original function of these materials is barely visible in his work. Only with close observation is it possible to notice, for instance, the transformation of discarded paper tubes (jettisoned by the paper industry) into modular shelves made-up of cardboard rings.
Campolongo is deeply involved in socio-environmental issues, promoting links between sustainable practices and the creation of products. He also works in several Brazilian cities devising projects of street communities and has developed, in collaboration with its inhabitants, a housing complex in São Paulo made from cardboard and MDF residues. In 2006 the Estudio Nido Campolongo created a model for an outstanding alternative architecture project, using 6.000 cardboard cones to build a housing shelter called “OCA” (Brazilian native Indian shelter).” writes Maria Helena Estrada, the grande dame of Brazilian design.
Name: Nido Campolongo
Place of residence: São Paulo, Brazil
Profession: Designer and Plastic Artist
Food: Japanese food
Transportation: I like to walk. São Paulo is a very big city, I use public transport and sometimes as a last option I drive.
Can you tell me something about the very beginning of your work?
I studied civil engineer in São Paulo in the eighties and did not complete the course. After this period I intensified my research focusing on different materials and supports, creating new graphics products, such as packages and re-use of cardboards. This production allowed me to work in the prospect of recycling, replacing and reproducing graphic materials in a sustainable and bio-ecological perspective. Later I established the company “Galeria do Papel – Gráfica Editora” (paper gallery publishing house), where I started to develop and to produce products for big companies like: Editora Abril S/A, Natura Cosméticos S/A, Sesc São Paulo, Instituto Sócio-Ambiental, and packaging for important fashion brands.
My work developed into a tri-dimensional production and on the creating of paper sculptures and paper fabrics, thereby introducing the use of this material also on interior design in the purpose of stabling a center for research and events related to paper. When I choose to use industrial paper and its products, such as cardboard cones, filters, different types of cardboard and cardboard tubes, I started visiting factories and warehouses in São Paulo, which increased my repertoire of knowledge and ideas about the industry and the waste it produces into the urban context. At that time I performed projects related to the production of the Japanese architects Isamu Noguchi and Shigeru Ban, which I identified as a strong reference in the architecture and design studies using also cardboard and reuse papers.
The exhibition in São Paulo called “Bricadeiras de Papel” (paper plays) at “Casa do Leitor” (readers’ house), was an interesting result of this papers research. At the same time I immersed in the production of many new paper´s products, such as table, chairs, beds, lamps, floorings, linings and sets.
Can you tell us something more about DEVELOPS in Design and about an important project completed?
In the course of my career, I developed many different projects not only in São Paulo but also in other states of Brazil and outside the country, working with the recycling of waste such as wood, glass and pet bottles post consumer. In this area I promoted partnerships with companies and institutions form the third sector. I installed an important public permanent project in São Paulo, celled Spiral Project, developed by me especially for the Conjunto Nacional Condominium. This version of the Spiral was made of rings and contains on its interior paper, aluminum, glass, plastic and Tetrapak packages. You will find the synthesis of my creative understand about design on the Spiral Project: It resume the Spiral form, as a representation of the project that carries the same name, arose from the contact I had with Edgar Morin´s writings (The II Method: The Life of Life), where I questioned the circular form used as a recycling symbol. The circle is closed. The Spiral is opened and continuous. The first Spiral, measuring 50 meters long and 4 meters high, was initially composed by sets of ten fenolite rings, closed with glass and structured with iron tubes. It initiates with a cart full of materials, collected by “paper gatherers”. In its interior, residual materials and water demonstrate the paper recycling stages. These containers are “transformed” into the productive ring that shows the product made of the residual materials acquired.
How has the internet changed your perception of Design?
It didn´t change much about my working process, but the way of getting connected to people around the world became more intense and opened new opportunities for net working and developing of projects.
How has teaching design changed your way of production?
The Exchange of experiences with students is very important for me, and became part of my creative process. I did lectures and workshops in many different social institutions, as well as in Universities and Schools like: Instituto Europeu de Design; Design Center of Marseille (France); FMU; FAAP; Mackenzie; USP; Senac; São Paulo – Brazil / France, September 2003.
Speaker at the event GRAPHICA 2003 – V Conference on Graphics Engineering for Arts and Design Universidad de Santa Cruz do Sul. Santa Cruz do Sul – RS – Brazil, August 2002.
Lecture and Workshop – “Set Construction and Costumes” – Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. Rio Grande do Norte – Brazil, 2002.
“Paper and its Products” – Galeria do Papel. São Paulo – Brazil, 1999 Course.
November Lecture and Workshop – Candango Museum. Brasilia – Brazil, 1996.