Disney plush

Brazilian design duo the Campana brothers have built their reputation upon their ability to transform everyday objects into individual pieces. Working with unexpected combinations of found materials, they create products like the Favela chair, which, constructed piece by piece from the same wood used to build the Favela slums surrounding their São Paulo home, combines high style with light political comment. Their most recent creation, a collaboration with Disney, goes on show in London this week. Essentially an interpretation of their 2002 Banquete chair, the Cartoon chair replaces the anonymous, plush toy upholstery with the more familiar faces of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Pluto. Viewed alone, Disney characters are banal and harmless Americana. Seen en masse, packed in close proximity, this multitude of Mickeys is transformed into something altogether more sinister. While the Favela chair uses materials and aesthetics to comment upon Brazilian social issues, the Cartoon chair, with its subversion of American iconography, raises questions regarding both the Americanisation of global culture and, more fashionably, America’s current bullish foreign policy. Interesting ideas, but the gallery’s ‘look but don’t touch’ display policy – the chairs are suspended from the ceiling – prevents the viewer from answering the key question, ‘Are they comfy?’.

The Cartoon chairs, created by Fernando and Humberto Campana, in collaboration with Disney, Phillips de Pury & Co and the Albion gallery, are on show at the Albion, 8 Hester Road, London SW11 until 16 March

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