Art and Design Converge in Brazil

For the inaugural post by Artsy Design, we’ve drawn inspiration from three artworks on view at ArtRio and paired each with a work of Brazilian design.

Brazilian Modernism: Alberto Ferreira & Oscar Niemeyer

Alberto Ferreira’s photograph, Brasília – Pé ante pé / Tiptoe, is from a series that poignantly captures the 1960 opening of Brasília — a diverse audience in the foreground sits against the striking new government buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the celebrated Brazilian architect who passed away last year at the age of 104. Niemeyer was one of the most influential figures of Modernism, and a central figure in creating a distinct architectural style for Brazil. After Niemeyer moved to Paris in 1966, he began designing furniture including his iconic “Rio” lounge which, like his architecture and contrary to most work by his Modern peers (like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe), preferences organic curves over straight lines. “I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man,” Niemeyer once said. “I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman.”

Trees of Life: Pedro Motta & Huga França

Brazilian photographer Pedro Motta's images often capture the ability for nature to prevail over man-made structures. Working exclusively with reclaimed wood, Hugo França similarly derives inspiration from his native landscape, highlighting the magnificence of native fallen trees, renewing their purpose by hollowing out a place for rest within monumental Pequi and Imbuia trunks. Using traditional woodworking skills taught to him by the indigenous people living in the jungle of northeastern Brazil in Bahia, França celebrates all the tree’s inherently glorious qualities.

Azure Curves: Suzana Quierioga & The Campana Brothers

Whether it’s the curly squiggles, azure color palette, or subject matter of Suzana Quierioga’s Cloud seeding series, one can’t help think of a different type of accumulation—that of reclaimed carpeting to form popular design-duo Humberto and Fernando Campana’s Sushi Mirror.