JULY 15, 2020

  • Legally, the company Forma S.A. Móveis e Objetos de Arte (Forma S.A. Furniture and Art Objects) was registered on 24 January 1956, but its activities had begun since 24 June 1955.

    Sometimes, after work, the brothers Ernesto and Rosl Wolf [1] would invite the whole group to a restaurant or for a drink in Ernesto’s apartment, to read a rare book, or see a new painting. These meetings were exciting and interesting. Once, they decided that the firm Móveis Artesanal needed a name with more personality. Martin Eisler was very fun and observed that “Artesanal” was not a bad name, as long as it was not used in the plural. Several names were suggested and rejected, and the conversation took a different turn. Ernesto was always a quiet person, but after some time he interrupted the conversation with one word: “Forma”, and Artesanal changed its name soon after. [2]

  • According to the archives of the Junta Comercial de São Paulo (São Paulo’s bureau for Commerce) consulted, the companies are...

    Advertisement published in 1954.

    According to the archives of the Junta Comercial de São Paulo (São Paulo’s bureau for Commerce) consulted, the companies are (in this order) Galeria Artesanal Móveis e Objetos de Artes Ltda., Galeria Artesanal Ltda., Móveis Artesanal Ltda. and Móveis Artesanal S.A. The partners who founded Forma were Carlo Hauner, Luciana Hauner, Ernesto Wolf, and Martin Eisler. Matias Eisler, son of Martin Eisler, affirmed, in an interview with the researcher Mina Warchavchik Hugerth [3], that the name change also aimed to make the company more attractive to the business market, which was rapidly developing. [4]

  • Thus, we can assume that the name came up at the Hauner’s decoration shop and was soon adopted to the furniture. Even if informally, the companies began to merge and identify as Forma since the second semester of 1954 and, at the first moment, this does not seem to have provoked changes in the Gallery’s day-to-day life.

    It can be observed that they created a multiplicity of pieces with few elements, from a few matching feet to buffets, shelves, and cabinets. They were found in the news reports with various models of chairs, differently signed by Eisler and Hauner, once more using the strategy of combining the same feet in diverse seats – of cane, rubber, and foam upholstered with Scottish fabric.

  • Sérgio Rodrigues, responsible for the interior design of projects, disassociated himself from the company by the end of 1954, most...

    Oca's advertisement published in a magazine, 1961.

    Sérgio Rodrigues, responsible for the interior design of projects, disassociated himself from the company by the end of 1954, most probably because of Eisler’s discouragement on Rodrigues’ furniture design. The episode was known as the Sofa Hauner, designed by Sérgio Rodrigues in 1954 and that was harshly criticized by Eisler, who said Rodrigues would not have a future in design. Hauner, in a different position, evaluated that Sérgio should invest in the area, even if he had a different language from Forma’s, which would then exclude such products from the company. In 1955 Sérgio Rodrigues came back to Rio de Janeiro and inaugurated Oca, his gallery-shop, and later on, he produced and commercialized the piece of Sofa Hauner.

  • The company was formed by Conde Grasselli (first investor at Móveis Artesanal), Sérgio Rodrigues, and his brother-in-law. Rodrigues, in his new shop, designed authorial pieces but also resold furniture by Forma and Ambiente in Rio de Janeiro.

    Not long after Sérgio Rodrigues left the company, Hauner, due to misunderstandings with other partners, left Forma and went back to Italy, passing his actions on to his brother Ernesto Hauner. Back in Italy, Hauner opened Forma di Brescia, fabricating and commercializing furniture design by him and others, besides designing for various European companies. Despite his success, he ended up giving up the career, and moved to a small island in the South of Italy, dedicating himself to the production of wine.

    Georgia and Ernesto Hauner left the company in 1955 – even though they were financially prospering, Ernesto Hauner wanted to produce his own designs. In 1959, they founded together with the company Ernesto Hauner Decorations, and, in 1962, they inaugurated the company Mobilinea with the English engineer John de Souza. Ernesto Hauner was responsible for the furniture design and Georgia Hauner for the Mobilinea shops’ scenography that would use rare, well-humored, objects to define the company’s identity. [5]

    Eisler remained at the company, as creation director, and Wolf as an investor. Documents show that the first public record in partnership with the American Knoll was published in 1959 through an announcement in the magazine Casa & Jardim in January. However, it was only in December that the company officially received a license for the production of furniture by Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertola, and Mies Van Der Rohe, as well as Florence Knoll and others.

  • In 1960, Knoll brought the Mexican architect Aurélio Martines Flores to implant the company’s concept in Brazil. The Forma’s partnership with Knoll created an opening to the market of corporate furniture, which grew rapidly in Brazil. In 1969, Flores left Forma but continued in Brazil as an architect. One year later, the architect and designer Adriana Adam launches a line of products and gets responsible for the company’s visual communications.

    In 1977, Martin Eisler, who was the director at Forma, died in São Paulo. Forma was later bought by Giroflex, which declared bankruptcy in 2005.


    [1] Ernesto Wolf was a partner and investor at Móveis Artesanal and Galeria Artesanal. Wolf was a great art collector, having been involved in the production of the first Bienal in 1951 and maintaining close friendships with Ciccillo Matarazzo and José Mindlin. His sister, Rose Wolf, was married to Martin Eisler, an architect, designer, and partner in the companies Móveis Artesanal, Galeria Artesanal, and Forma.

    [2] HAUNER, G. [texto não publicado] Texto de Georgia Hauner. Vancouver, 2011

    [3] HUGERTH, Mina Warchavchik. Móveis Artesanal: prelúdio à Forma, OCA e Mobilinea.

    [4] EISLER, M. [correio eletrônico] 05 de fevereiro de 2013, São Paulo [para] HUGERTH, M. W., São Paulo. Informações sobre a carreira de Martin Eisler, Móveis Artesanal e Forma. São Paulo, 2013.

    [5] HUGERTH, Mina Warchavchik. Móveis Artesanal: prelúdio à Forma, OCA e Mobilinea.

    This text is part of the article “The Sistematization Of Production Of Furniture By The Architects Carlo Hauner And Martin Eisler In The 1950s", written in 2019 by Isabela Milagre.

    Texts and photographs content are part of Bossa Furniture creative production.

    JULY 15, 2020