New Talent 2018: Guilherme Wentz Is Helping Reunite Brazilian Design and Manufacturing
The 30-year-old Brazilian designer is also known for his nature-meets-minimalism style.
The simple life may seem antithetical to his chosen industry, but Guilherme Wentz doesn’t see it that way. At 30, he runs his São Paulo design studio, WENTZ, and art directs at Brazilian furniture company Decameron. With a growing profile, he rejects any notion that design is self-expression; instead, Wentz says, he is guided by “having less stuff and making better choices.”
This has not precluded the prolific inventiveness that Wentz has demonstrated throughout his young career. After graduating in 2013 from the Universidade de Caxias do Sul in the South Region of Brazil, where he grew up, he found success making nature-meets-minimalism lighting and accessories for Brazilian design houses like Riva and Lumini. He also collaborated with the Collectors’ Club of the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art, for which he created a vase featuring carbonized recycled wood.
“I experienced a big change in my life when I started to be closer to nature,” he says. Now, with WENTZ—which he founded with Rafael Gehrke in 2016—he is adding another layer by partnering with local factories.
In this regard, Wentz belongs to a wave of designers renewing interest in Brazilian manufacturing. “Industry and design have been apart for so many years in Brazil,” he explains. “It’s great to be part of a generation experimenting with other materials and techniques,” which can build on the country’s reputation for traditional woodworking and the Modern canon of Jorge Zalszupin (to whom Wentz is partial), Lina Bo Bardi, Joaquim Tenreiro, and Oscar Niemeyer.
Wentz’s manufacturing know-how and yen for simplicity shape his work, which has a spareness poised somewhere between elegant and, as the designer puts it, “prehistoric.” Take WENTZ’s new collection of vases—more plant infrastructure than decor. Far from artifacts of nature, they can perhaps be best understood as agents uniting users and nature’s biodiversity.
“This is one of the things that interests me the most,” Wentz says. “It’s about enhancing people’s experience with their environment by subtracting the objects around them.”
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