• THE COLLECTORS ESSENTIALS


    In this online exhibition, we gather pieces that carry unique features of modern Brazilian design. Telling its history is also to disseminate Brazilian history. That's why we called it essential.


    Different visions of Modern design can be perceived when comparing the production of three of the pioneers in Brazilian design: Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992), Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992), and Geraldo de Barros (1923-1998).


    The first one, an Italo-Brazilian architect raised and educated in Rome (1939), Lina Bo Bardi was a friend of Bruno Zevi and other Italian masters. Lina believed in the industry as a vehicle for the democratization of modern ideas, and she brought Brazilian culture, territory, and history to her designs. Even though Lina wasn't part of the remarkable symposium "What is Happening to Modern Architecture?" (1947) at the MoMA with the head figures of the architecture of the moment – Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Walter Gropius, Breuer, and others – her ideas were in consonance with the international movement. Her production on architecture and critical texts on Habitat magazine shared the view that there's not one universal solution for architecture and design; each project needs to respond to the local environment and society.


    Born in Melo, Portugal, Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992) started working with wood when he was eight years old, following in his father's footsteps. Tenreiro also believed that furniture production should reflect the climate and local materials. But unlike most of his colleagues, he thought that handcraft work was irreplaceable in high-quality furniture making. His clients were not only an economic elite but also intellectuals. Tenreiro once said in an interview: " it is a crime to make a bad chair out of rosewood " reflecting how precious his relation with raw materials.


    Born in the countryside of São Paulo state, Geraldo de Barros was twenty-two years old when he began his studies in drawing and painting at the Associação Paulista de Belas Artes de São Paulo (1945). He became a multi-artist and was part of many vanguard groups such as Grupo Ruptura, Grupo XV, Grupo Rex. De Barros believed in uniting social changes through furniture production. At Unilabor, Geraldo designed structures, frames, and simple elements to be combined and compose different pieces of furniture, ensuring the rationalization of production. Much more than the industry itself, Geraldo believed in the workers and the social impact of the design.


    Amongst these iconic designers, some companies marked this moment in Brazilian design as well. One that changed the Brazilian design scene in the 1950s was Moveis Artesanal, created by the Italian Carlo Hauner (1927-1996). With a unique gallery space in São Paulo, Galeria Móveis Artesanal succeeded in communicating its modern aesthetics. Martin Eisler (1913-1977) joined the company as a partner, and many of their most well-known pieces were designed by him. Móveis Artesanal and its successor, Forma S.A. Móveis e Objetos de Arte, were very present in modern houses built in the 1950s and magazine publications, representing covers like no other company. Less political and worried about cultural approaches, Forma S.A. pieces carry almost the same level of craftsmanship as Tenreiro but are more connected with international production.


    It is crucial to mention that the pieces designed by Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler had a short time production (1950-1961) when compared to the forty years that Forma lasted in the market - always selling desirable and high-quality products. After 1961 the company became the official manufacturer of Knoll products in Brazil, sourcing pieces to many institutions and companies all over Brazil.


    One thing that is not widely known is that at the time, the recently formed and young architect Sergio Rodrigues (1927-2014) was part of the interior design sector of Móveis Artesanal. Inspired by the success in São Paulo, Rodrigues opened a branch of the company in Curitiba, following the same principles of the São Paulo store. After six months, only one sofa was sold. Two years later, Sergio opened in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, his own store Oca (1955), to sell his designs and a few pieces by Forma. Rodrigues's furniture pieces were present in many modern houses in Rio de Janeiro, and the construction of Brasilia – a modernist city like Chandigarh – was a turning point in his career and company. Oca production hit scale and had commercial resellers all over Brazil, and even in Carmel, California (1965-1968). One of his faithful clients, Adolpho Bloch (1908-1995), owner of the Brazilian publisher Bloch Editors, hired Oca to furnish his recently constructed buildings. Rodrigues designed a chair for the dining room of TV Manchete, which we present here as Bloch chair, a commission to this project.


    A necessary name to finish our list is Jorge Zalszupin (1922-2020), a Poland-born Brazilian who worked as an architect, designer, entrepreneur, and manager. His company L'atelier was an example of a transition from the artisanal production mode, with unique and custom pieces, to serial industrial production during the 1960s and 1970s. Jorge was always very interested in new technologies and materials, developing new techniques to materialize his curved free ideas. To keep investing in technologies, he had to increase sales and production flow. For this, Zalszupin developed a line of modular furniture to serve both residential and corporate environments. His aesthetic solution of rosewood patchwork was a turning point in this process:

    “I thought about combining several patterns of rosewood, lighter, darker, with different types of veins, that is, creating a new pattern so that all desks would integrate with each other, hence the idea of the rosewood patchwork [...]. It was a technique that we developed and that helped to produce furniture industrially with sophisticated marquetry. I started using this new pattern on other furniture pieces [...]. At some point, we had a complete line that, by the way, was very successful at the time."

    -Jorge Zalszupin

    The selection below is not a definitive list of Brazilian design icons. The icons' establishment is related to intricate values, and nothing about design history can be conclusive – good design research is constantly expanding. The Collectors Essentials seeks to provide an overview of the history of Brazilian design through the names we consider key to understanding furniture production in Brazil, presenting a selection that reflects the view of the designers on their creations.


    Isabela Milagre

    Brazilian design researcher and curator

     
  • This rocking chair was one of the first pieces designed by Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992) and produced by his Langenbach &... This rocking chair was one of the first pieces designed by Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992) and produced by his Langenbach &...

    This rocking chair was one of the first pieces designed by Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992) and produced by his Langenbach & Tenreiro store, opened in 1947.

    The delicate artesian piece, made of solid Rosewood and caned seat and backrest, moves elegantly between the Brazilian colonial and the modern aesthetics.

    Tenreiro's rocking chair is iconic to the point of having featured his company's logo and several publications over the years, having already recognized historical importance.

     
  • When I was making furniture, plaited cane had almost disppeared in Brazil, nobody used it. I retrieved cane from the... When I was making furniture, plaited cane had almost disppeared in Brazil, nobody used it. I retrieved cane from the... When I was making furniture, plaited cane had almost disppeared in Brazil, nobody used it. I retrieved cane from the...

    When I was making furniture, plaited cane had almost disppeared in Brazil, nobody used it. I retrieved cane from the colonial tradition. Caning originally came from India and had become a tradition in Brazil. Brazil used cane for years. It served the purpose for the climate, especially because of the heat in Rio de Janeiro and even in São Paulo. Cane was a necessary element in modern furniture.



    Joaquim Tenreiro
    (Madeira, arte e design, 1985)

     
  • Of inestimable cultural value, the MASP 7th April Chair by Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992) is a milestone in the history... Of inestimable cultural value, the MASP 7th April Chair by Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992) is a milestone in the history... Of inestimable cultural value, the MASP 7th April Chair by Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992) is a milestone in the history...

    Of inestimable cultural value, the MASP 7th April Chair by Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992) is a milestone in the history of Brazilian modern furniture. This iconic foldable and stackable chair was designed for the MASP's auditorium when it still was placed on 7th April street.

    According to Bo Bardi, she did not find any modern chairs in São Paulo. To solve such a problem, Lina designed her own piece. Then, she created the notorious companies Estúdio Palma and Fábrica de Móveis Pau Brasil, which paved the way for several companies in the same segment.

  • This desk, designed by Carlo Hauner (1927-1995) between 1950 and 1953, stood out within the production of Hauner and Eisler's...

    Brasil Moderno magazine cover, 1953

    This desk, designed by Carlo Hauner (1927-1995) between 1950 and 1953, stood out within the production of Hauner and Eisler's Móveis Artesanal.

    In 1953, the desk appeared in a cover of "Brasil Moderno" (Modern Brazil) magazine, a bilingual publication that aimed to present Brazil's development to the English to attract investments and tourism.

    The straightforward construction makes this piece easy to manufacture and store - fundamental characteristics for the intended industrial production at the time.

    Impossible to find, we are glad to have this item in our collection and to be able to share it with you.

    • Joaquim Tenreiro Rocking Chair, c. 1947
      Joaquim Tenreiro
      Rocking Chair, c. 1947
    • Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler Desk, c. 1950
      Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler
      Desk, c. 1950
    • Lina Bo Bardi Chair MASP 7th April, 1947
      Lina Bo Bardi
      Chair MASP 7th April, 1947
  • Geraldo de Barros (1923-1998) designed and projected furniture based on his constructive references related to Concrete Art. In this outstanding...

    Geraldo de Barros (1923-1998) designed and projected furniture based on his constructive references related to Concrete Art. In this outstanding piece, some substantial features of modern production are present: the industrial constructive reasoning and the brand language with straight lines, sobriety, and functionality.

    The storage compartments are covered with Rosewood and Formica, a new and innovative decorative solution developed by the industry in the period.

  • Made of Rosewood, the Unilabor 4015 Chair by Geraldo de Barros has a light structure, the characteristic of Unilabor's production... Made of Rosewood, the Unilabor 4015 Chair by Geraldo de Barros has a light structure, the characteristic of Unilabor's production...

    Made of Rosewood, the Unilabor 4015 Chair by Geraldo de Barros has a light structure, the characteristic of Unilabor's production – using thin shapes in its designs for the better advantage of materials.

    De Barros designed furniture in such a way that, from the same structure, it is possible to obtain variations of the chair. Other pieces produced by the company have a similar design, with slight differences like the number of backrest slats or seat material.




    "It is a crime to make a bad chair out of Rosewood."

    - Joaquim Tenreiro

     
  • The growth of cities and the verticalization of urban centers in the 1950s resulted in the need to make better... The growth of cities and the verticalization of urban centers in the 1950s resulted in the need to make better...

    The growth of cities and the verticalization of urban centers in the 1950s resulted in the need to make better use of home spaces.

    Martin Eisler (1913-1977) designed this table to take advantage of space, assuming two positions: in the normal position, it serves as a dining table for up to six people; in the second position, it gains a very different aspect due to the mobility of its legs, becoming a tea table.

    This piece was manufactured by the pioneer Moveis Artesanal and featured several interior and lifestyle magazines.

     
    • Geraldo de Barros (Unilabor) Bookshelf - Shelving Unit MF710, 1950s
      Geraldo de Barros (Unilabor)
      Bookshelf - Shelving Unit MF710, 1950s
    • Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler Coffee and Dining Table, 1955
      Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler
      Coffee and Dining Table, 1955
    • Geraldo de Barros (Unilabor) Unilabor 4015 Chair (6 units), 1950s
      Geraldo de Barros (Unilabor)
      Unilabor 4015 Chair (6 units), 1950s
  • Unlike the cane tradition in Brazilian furniture, the cane weaving in this dining chair by Martin Eisler (1913-1977) presents rectangular...

    Unlike the cane tradition in Brazilian furniture, the cane weaving in this dining chair by Martin Eisler (1913-1977) presents rectangular forms, which results in a particular aesthetic.

    This piece has a charming profile thanks to the angled legs in front and back. Its image became an icon through Forma’s advertisements and projects published in Brazilian decoration magazines in the 1950s.

    A variation of this design appears in a rare advertisement of Galeria Artesanal, the first store in São Paulo that commercialized the Móveis Artesanal creations, published on Habitat magazine – founded by Lina Bo (1914-1992) and Pietro Maria Bardi (1900-1999) in 1950 with precious and critical content about the cultural universe when São Paulo was consolidating itself as a metropolis.

  • Following the same design of other dining tables produced by Forma S.A. Móveis e Objetos de Arte, this one has...

    Following the same design of other dining tables produced by Forma S.A. Móveis e Objetos de Arte, this one has the significant differential of the top made of natural cane, divided into three sections on the wooden structure, each with an individual glass top.

    Unlike the cane tradition in Brazilian furniture, the cane weaving in this dining table presents rectangular forms, which results in a particular aesthetic also present in other pieces designed by Hauner and Eisler – as the iconic chairs that composes a set on this historical image above from Acropole magazine.

     
  • Martin Eisler (1913-1977) designed this exceptional credenza in the 1950s. Made of Rosewood with doors covered in natural cane, there... Martin Eisler (1913-1977) designed this exceptional credenza in the 1950s. Made of Rosewood with doors covered in natural cane, there...

    Martin Eisler (1913-1977) designed this exceptional credenza in the 1950s. Made of Rosewood with doors covered in natural cane, there are so many unique details that it is hard to choose what to highlight: the graceful diagonals present in the second level, the pointy feet, the organic-shaped brass pullers.

    This distinctive design integrates Brazil's highly designed and well-executed wood pieces produced by Forma S.A. Móveis e Objetos de Arte.

    • Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler Dining Table with Cane Top, 1950s
      Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler
      Dining Table with Cane Top, 1950s
    • Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler Caviuna Dining Chair (6 chairs), 1953
      Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler
      Caviuna Dining Chair (6 chairs), 1953
    • Carlo Hauner & Martin Eisler Cane credenza with two levels, 1954
      Carlo Hauner & Martin Eisler
      Cane credenza with two levels, 1954
  • This curved chair is a gorgeous example of Tenreiro's lightness, expressed by grace and functionality in space. Its delicate shapes,...

    This curved chair is a gorgeous example of Tenreiro's lightness, expressed by grace and functionality in space.

    Its delicate shapes, with the backs of thin sticks and the carved, pointed feet give the impression that the piece floats in space.

    Light design, a structural challenge.

     
  • A particular characteristic in Brazilian mid-century furniture making was the practice of entire furnishing houses in exchange for a special...

    A particular characteristic in Brazilian mid-century furniture making was the practice of entire furnishing houses in exchange for a special commission. Inside these interiors, there were well-known pieces produced by the most prominent designers.

    This big bookcase is a unique piece designed by Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1922) and executed by his company, made to fit in an apartment of a traditional family in São Paulo in the 1960s – what makes this a very special piece.

     
  • Furnishing commercial buildings and institutions was a common practice in the Brazilian mid-century to create progressive environments. This chair was...

    Furnishing commercial buildings and institutions was a common practice in the Brazilian mid-century to create progressive environments. This chair was created in 1964 by Sergio Rodrigues (1927-2014) for BLOCH EDITORES S.A. BUILDING, a Brazilian publisher founded in 1952 and closed in 2000, where Rodrigues and Joaquim Tenreiro furnished the interiors.

    This piece in solid Rosewood was designed to have large back seats and backrests, respecting Rodrigues' furniture tradition: comfort.

    Indeed, he was responsible for establishing a new paradigm in design, setting himself apart with his very own language in his quest for a recognizable Brazilian identity.

  • The iconic Guanabara was designed by Jorge Zalszupin (1922-2020) in 1959 and produced by his company, L'atelier. Over two concrete...

    The iconic Guanabara was designed by Jorge Zalszupin (1922-2020) in 1959 and produced by his company, L'atelier.

    Over two concrete bases rest a top covered with rosewood patchwork, a solution developed by Zalszupin using the material rationally, having the design as a tool to avoid waste – achieving a fantastic result through the different tones of the Brazilian rosewood beautifully.

    At the time, the Guanabara table was presented as a dynamic piece that could be used in corporate spaces and domestic places. Today, we still recognize its versatility, a mark of good design.

    • Joaquim Tenreiro Curved Armchair with stick back (Pair), 1961-1962
      Joaquim Tenreiro
      Curved Armchair with stick back (Pair), 1961-1962
    • Joaquim Tenreiro Bookcase, 1959
      Joaquim Tenreiro
      Bookcase, 1959
    • Jorge Zalszupin Guanabara Table, 1959
      Jorge Zalszupin
      Guanabara Table, 1959
    • Sergio Rodrigues Bloch Chairs (8 units), c. 1965
      Sergio Rodrigues
      Bloch Chairs (8 units), c. 1965
  • BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

    ANDRADE, Mariana Vieira de. Jorge Zalszupin: contribuições para o design do móvel moderno brasileiro (1959-2008). Dissertação de mestrado, USP, São Paulo, 2017.
    BARROS, Fabiana de. Geraldo de Barros: Isso. São Paulo: Edições Sesc; 1ª edição, 2013.
    CALS, Soraia. Tenreiro. Rio de Janeiro: Bolsa de Arte, 2000.
    CUY, José Esparza Chong; GONZALEZ, Julieta; PEDROSA, Adriano; TOLEDO, Tomas. Lina Bo Bardi: Habitat. MASP/Museo Jumex/Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 2019.
    HUGERT, Mina Warchavchik. Móveis Artesanal. Faculdade de arquitetura e urbanismo da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo
    MUSEU DE ARTE DE SAO PAULO. Mobiliário Brasileiro: premissas e realidade. São Paulo: MASP, 1971.
    SANTOS, M. C. L. dos. Móvel Moderno do Brasil. São Paulo: Nobel/FAPESP/Edusp, 1995.
    _____. Jorge Zalzupin: Design Moderno no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Olhares, 2014.
    TENREIRO, Joaquim. (interview org. by Ascânio MMM). Madeira, Arte e Design. Rio de Janeiro: Galeria de Arte do Centro Empresarial Rio, Jan. 1985
    VACARO, Baba. Sergio Rodrigues / designer [texto/text] Baba Vacaro; [tradução inglês/ English version Anita Di Marco e Ann Puntch]. - 1. ed. - São Paulo: BEI Comunição, 2017.


    QUOTES
    Joaquim Tenreiro to Ascânio MMM in Madeira, Arte e Design (org.Ascânio MMM). Rio de Janeiro: Galeria de Arte do Centro Empresarial Rio, Jan. 1985
    Jorge Zalszupin to Sérgio Campos in Sept. / Oct. 2009. In: “Zalszupin: 50 anos de design de mobiliário.” Exhibition catalog. São Paulo: Galeria Artemobília, Nov. 2009, p. 5.)
    Pietro Bardi to Maria Cecilia Loschiavo Santos. In: SANTOS, M. C. L. dos. Móvel Moderno do Brasil. São Paulo: Nobel/FAPESP/Edusp, 1995.