How Brazil’s design scene has developed its own distinct beat
Originally published at the Finacial Times by Susan Moore April 29, 2016
São Paulo art fair shows how country’s designers have adapted modernism by adding curved lines, spirited colours and natural materials
The SP-Arte fair, held in São Paulo’s Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion earlier this month © Pétala Lopes
Against a backdrop of corruption scandals and the worst recession in more than a century, for five days earlier this month São Paulo’s art fair, SP-Arte, put on arguably the most ambitious exhibition of its 12-year history. This year, for the first time, the fair included a design section, which took over one floor of Oscar Niemeyer’s 1957 Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion. It would be hard to find a more appropriate setting, given Niemeyer’s insistence on the importance of art in design. “It was the drawing that led me to architecture, the search for light and astonishing forms,” he said in the mid 2000s.
“We have a strong design tradition in Brazil, and it is something that interests Brazilian collectors,” says fair founder and director Fernanda Feitosa. “Gallerists have been bringing one or two design pieces to SP-Arte for years in order to create ambience and they always ended up selling them, and so I have been thinking about organising a design fair for some time.”
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Membrana Vase in blown Crystal as featured in the article design Jacqueline Terpins image Andrés Otero