Oct 20, 201105:19 PMPoint of View
The METROPOLIS Blog
#artdesignbrazil Energizes the World
2One for Onare. Chair made from recycled materialsBrasil is Multiculturalism. A melting pot culture can produce a singular vision in multiplicity which Marcio poetically defined as the “ability to improvise, the importance of multiculturalism, a decentralized vision of the world, an un-perfect aesthetic, the beauty of future possibilities, self-irony…” Roberto adds, “Remember that Brazil’s colonizers were mainly Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and German--all with traditions of hand craft skills” on top of which they “added their cultural influence, food, music.” Emmanuel, who also lives in Europe, noted, “Brazil design is immediately identifiable, as a unique combination of various recycled epochs, materials, and forms blended into one very unique style. Just like the country itself works.” A kitchen by Ornare. Brazil is Sustainable. Perhaps the most defining contribution of pioneering Brazilian thought will be the incorporation of natural sustainability, from resource management to fair workers rights. This concept is intrinsic to pioneer companies such as ETEL, who put it this way, “Development without deforestation. Respect for the earth and for its peoples. In 2001, ETEL Marcenaria became one of Brazil’s first furniture companies to achieve FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification and in 2002.…embodied in Aver Amazônica,” the establishment of their own lands to provide responsibly harvested woods “in Xapuri – the land of ecological sustainability pioneer and martyr Chico Mendes.” Ornare, who also receives the FSC certificate, has an active environmental awareness program of recycling, reuse of waste and environmental preservation, and works with NGOs, passionately expressed their happy exhibitionist side with their “2One project”. 2One paired art and utility by inviting architects to join artisans from the fine arts, design, and fashion jewelry to develop a singular object whose main source was the raw material, scrap wood and leather, from Ornare’s manufacture. “We thought about a design concept, which reaffirms the idea that nothing is created, everything is transformed. It is a sustainable action which transforms and remains in luxury objects” Etel told us. A home in Paraty, designed by Marcio Kogan. Brazil is High Design, Mass Appeal. Dror’s response to whether designers create for the elite vs. mass market reflects the growing international perspective that is at home in Brazil: “There are many designers who fall into either or both categories, in all parts of the world. I think that gradually people are beginning to understand that the two can go hand in hand. Once your mind thinks about design and how to improve the built-environment, it doesn't separate the high-end from the socially aware idea. You think of the whole spectrum. For example, our invention QuaDror…it started with a high-end design project for Swarovski, which afterwards lead to five years of investigation and experimenting with the geometry that I invented …(which) eventually inspired us to explore a structural support system that could address the issue of habitat in unprivileged areas or for disaster relief. “ An emergency home, based on the QuaDror structure. QuarDror pop-up building Roberto ticked off a few Brazilian examples from a long list including “Glauco Diogenes, an illustrator, who designs for Taschen and also designs shopping bags that are sold for about $5 for Tok Stok (the Brazilian version of Ikea). Architect Ruy Othake designed the upscale Unique Hotel as well as a beautiful residential project in a favela. There is Jose Machado, who designs furniture for with children's facilities for less-privileged communities and Marcelo Rosenbaum, who is developing projects with Piracema Design Laboratory responsibly working with Capim Dourado, a golden grass found only in Brazil fabricated into jewelry and baskets.” Etel mentioned that although “Brazilian design started elitist with some very important architects such as Gregory Warchavachik, Oswaldo Bratke, Branco & Preto and even Zalszupin designing the furniture for their houses," now you see the “Campana brothers designing a flip flop for Melissa, companies such as Electrolux investing in design products, the Guto Indio da Costa Spirit fan case and the success of companies like Tok & Stok based on democratic design.” Emmanuel pointed out that “In Brazil like elsewhere, there was an attempt, in the 1960’s particularly, to do design for the masses, very simple, inexpensive and convenient, but beautifully designed objects or furniture. Some were definitely a success and maybe none more than the legendary Havaianas!” Etel added, “With the improvement of our economy, not only our designers but also the industries are investing more in accessible and democratic design.” Marcio is less enthusiastic, saying, “Clearly, there is a lack of public initiatives to promote good design as a part of the solution for our long list of social problems. On the other hand, through the very few opportunities we still can find, designers play an important role in society to question, provoke, seduce or intelligently mock on our own ills.” The structural members of Fetiche Designs furniture are all metal re-bars. Brazil is low-tech, low impact. Designer Paulo Biacchi of Fetiche Design, who recently launched a collection of elegant chairs and tables using common rebar, said, “The low industrial investment in design and technology forces Brazilian designers to find their identity in the adversity, obliges designers to innovate production processes using low tech. This technical limitation exercises the creative power, opens up opportunities for a new thinking, a new way of making things. Brazilian designers are creating products that have an emotional charge, products that make clear the human presence in their productions. “Every day we use a large numbers of utensils that make life easier and that are the result of a design process, be it good or bad design. Since the earliest creations in the Stone Age, over and over, we are turning the ‘natural world’ into a ‘world of objects’. This is evolution. This is innovation. Belief in innovation is belief in the development of the Brazilian society and Brazil is still at the beginning of this process. Maybe we are starting this revolution from the top of the pyramid. Is this bad? We don't know.” Brazil is not forgetting its heritage. Clearly this unique “top of the pyramid” line to a natural heritage, usage and simplicity shows that Brazil is adding something new and fresh to the world of design. Rawness or natural impact is not an affect; it is part of the language. “Brazil’s creativity utilizes man power, equipment and raw materials that have been available in the country in the past industrial and current industrial period,” said Roberto. “We are looking to our incredible past, and near past, having both hindsight to the lifestyle of native people, their culture, skills and materials, music as well as foresight to the future of uses, shapes and lifestyle. I think the new generation of Brazilian designers are looking more and more to their heritage.” Marcio sees this as the “ability to improvise…a decentralized vision of the world, an un-perfect aesthetic, the beauty of future possibilities, self-irony…” Roberto sums up the Brazilian offering to the international market and design lovers, as “contemporary thoughts with a Brazilian soul….We are looking to the international scene and I think this is the main and most important move we are doing.” The Egg Chair, by Etel interiors. Brazil is talking a global design language. As far as a sustained impact of the current scene and all the events and attention on Brazil, Roberto talked about brands such as “Ornare, Vialight design, NDT BRAZIL, Mekal and by kamy, as a few of our clients and partners who have developed or are developing projects with internal designers due to BOOMSPDESIGN editions.” After a tour of their extensive manufacturing facilities and seeing the highest quality tech, design and worker comfort we understood why Ornare celebrates its 25th anniversary, producing “a national product…in line with the international market.” They are uniquely positioned to reflect on how the dialogue within and outside of Brazil’s borders has and is changing. Esther agreed, saying, “the advances are numerous in design, technologies and materials. It is an honor to work with renowned architects as Patricia Anastassiadis, Marcelo Rosenbaum, Carlo Colombo, Arthur Casas and so on. The Brazilian furniture industry is more advanced and it is up to date with trends in the world, not only in design but also in access to the latest technologies.” From the perspective of architecture, Marcio commented that “Every movement generates more movement, I think BOOMSPDESIGN enhances and helps promote Brazil´s abundant creativity.” On the event’s impact on his connection to the international pulse of the design industry, Dror stated emphatically, “I think it has a great impact in Brazil and beyond borders. The event involves a wide selection of local and international designers, design thinkers and design enthusiasts. It triggers a great dialogue and education, and creates a lot of international exposure for all parties involved. It’s a great way to bring people together, to learn and be inspired by what is going on around the world….It has spread recently and the whole world started to turn their attention over to Brazil.” Beyond generating business for artists, designers, companies and their practice of integrating low impact and sustainability, the progress in protecting the Rainforest as lungs of the world to the planet, is no small co-incidence to Brazil. Stewardship, respect for culture and tradition is forward thinking and Brazil is clearly the model for the world, happily exhibiting not just new design, but perhaps energizing world sustainability. Tweet with the hashtag #artdesignbrazil to add to this global dialogue. Jade Dressler is a curator and consultant for consumer brands and private clients on art and design, from content to exhibits, from interiors to clothing collections and has a habit of spawning art interventions in far-flung locales like Portal do Sul on 10,000 acres in Brazil or urban Milan with the Green Provocateur project.