Brazilian design is having a moment or a coming of age. After the anticipation of Brazil’s burgeoning creative industries was built up and over-egged to the point of inevitable disappointment, over the past five years a new design community has emerged. Discover more with Design Limited Edition!
Active and evident across Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and in the design galleries and auction houses of London, Milan, New York and Paris, the work is more mature, more confident and more collectable than ever.
European-trained, Rio-based designer Brunno Jahara is an energetic champion of the homegrown scene and agrees. “The whole euphoria of Brazil being the next big thing went a bit easy,” he says. “Now people are more down to earth, and designers in general are taking less risks, but being more professional overall – and that’s good. Initiatives like Design Week, technology, social media and magazines have also made a big difference and helped to spread awareness, and with the new architecture additions to Rio Olympic park… well, it is kind of a cool time here even with all the politics and economic crisis. There are lots of fun moments. We are in a great place.”
For Sao Paulo Design Week Jahara is launching a new collaboration with fellow Carioca Ana Voss, a fashion designer. Called Paleae Brasilis, it is a collection of nine objects made from Brazilian straw – a natural and universal material traditionally used by the native tropical people – and solid brass. Consisting of light shades, hats, shoes, baskets and bags, a chair is also in the pipeline for next year.
“Animals, organic shapes, lines and colours have always been typical of Brazilian design,” says Marcelo Orlean, US director of Brazilian wallcoverings brand Orlean. Where over the years Brazilian design has been inspired by its own extraordinary landscape, we’re seeing a shift in how nature is being used as an inspiration, he notes, pointing to Orlean’s Natural Village collection as one example, which is made by fibres of plants that have been carefully selected, washed, dried and stretched in the sunlight by craftsmen. “Now, instead of just imitating shapes and colours, natural materials are a direct part of the design aesthetic. Designers have also been incorporating open spaces with direct contact to the trees, flowers, wind and sun,” he says. “Cogobo is a perfect example of this, which over the years has evolved from a simple concrete element to having a wide array of materials and shapes.”
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It would be remiss to talk about contemporary Brazilian design without mentioning the Campana brothers, such has been their influence on the global stage. And their success has proved to be a catalyst for a new generation of designers now too – Jahara is just one who is more than happy to admit to the Campana effect. Originally acclaimed for their use of found and recycled elements in their pieces, the studio increasingly finds inspiration in local, natural resources (such as straw) and Brazilian history and customs in their gallery work.
The Sao Paulo based designers’ Cangaço collection debuted with Firma Casa at Design Miami last year and references the decorative leather clothing worn by Brazilian Cangaceiro bandits, outlaws and folk heroes of the 19th century, for example. Their most recent collection, Estrela, produced by A Lot Of Brazil, is a range of outdoor furniture inspired by the Brazilian Bolacha do Mar, a local relative of the starfish, and features a recurring star motif, laser cut in metal and welded together to make tables and chairs.
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What we’re starting to see more of now is new and highly accomplished wood workers. If the national design spirit was originally characterised by the local landscape – Brazil’s forests and abundant natural resources – it was made famous by the likes of Carlo Motta, Hugo Franca and Sergio Rodrigues. Today the likes of Zanini de Zanine, Jader Almeida, Rodrigo Calixto and Fernando Mendes are taking up the mantle, upholding the tradition of fine carpentry while also bringing attention to the environment.
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Source: The Telegraph