The Vermelha chair is an iconic piece, originally conceived and prototyped in 1993 for a gallery show in São Paulo along with several other pieces. The construction of the chair is very time-intensive, as it is handmade from a huge length of rope wrapped and woven to create the chair’s structure. Though the piece is beautiful, no one really believed real upholstery could be made using ropes. Everybody who saw it would comment, “Oh, this is an art piece. This cannot be a successful furniture design.” Many people were cynical about the chair, and it received a lot of criticism at the time.
One person disagreed. Massimo Morozzi, the art director of Edra, saw an image of the Vermelha chair in Mel Byers’s book 50 Chairs. He phoned me in São Paulo and said, “I want to produce the Vermelha chair.” I thought he was joking and said, “You’re kidding me. The chair requires 450 meters of rope woven in a very imprecise way. How can we make this work?” After I consulted with Humberto, we decided to offer Edra a step-by-step videotape of how to weave the chair. Though the process was very primitive for them to translate, Edra loved it. From 1998, Edra produced the Vermelha chair, which grew to be one of its bestsellers. They helped to transform it from a hand-crafted art piece into semi-mass-produced furniture design. —Fernando Campana
“For me, the Vermelha chair is an homage to chaos. It’s a portrait of Brazil, a melting pot of culture and races and represents how fragmented my life always is or was, and I try to manifest that idea into a kind of chair that is chaotic in its very construction.”