Brazilian Design – Research and Theory – Studio Index
Brazil has a vast and eclectic mix of cultures, landscapes and climates.
When this is combined with design it results in an exciting & tropical blend of colour, material & form.
Brazilian design and its identity is heavily influenced by its origin and history. The country was a Portuguese colony until 1822 and had a lot of immigration from Africa, Europe & Asia. This, along with its unique landscape and modern architectural rebellion, has created a design language that is as rich as its diversity.
For a long time, Brazilian architecture was influenced by colonial and neoclassical styles, coming almost exclusively from Europe, especially France and their once-colonial masters, Portugal. At the beginning, the main works of Brazilian architecture were religious buildings, but then as the country’s cities were constructed, due to industrialisation and commercial activities, grand neoclassical, romantic and neogothic buildings arose all over Brazil.
In the 20th century, Brazil’s architecture finally began creating its own style. Influenced by the modernist and brutalist movements and showcased by the building of the country’s brand-new capital city, Brasilia, in the 1950s, Brazilian modernism was born.
The climate and economy have also heavily influenced Brazil’s skyline. Luxury villas, with indoor/outdoor spaces, nestle amongst the tree’s in leafy suburbs while on the outskirts of cities you find favelas, or shanty towns, often constructed on land deemed unbuildable, such as mountain slopes. These communities living here tend to have the most enviable views that overlook the great cosmopolitan cities such as Rio de Janeiro.
Some notable Brazilian architects who helped define the country are listed below:
Ramos De Azevedo (1851–1928)
Oscar Niemeyer (1907–2012)
Villanova Artigas (1915–1985)
Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992)
Paulo Mendes Da Rocha (1928–present)
Ruy Ohtake (1938–present)
Isay Weinfeld (1952–present)
Brazil is a country of continental proportions, with regional differences in biodiversity, society, economy and industrialization. The multiple interpretations of function and beauty, along with the manufacturing processes, resulting in a varied production of design.
Among some examples are Joaquim Tenreiro’s chairs that combine different types of wood to accentuate the variety of colours and shapes in Brazilian flora, or Oscar Niemeyer’s architecture inspired by the simple form of modernism, but rounded its angles, believing that the curve is the best way to express Brazilian form.
Popular culture has also influenced design. Reusing materials and objects is a characteristic, translated by the creations of the Campanas brothers. In addition, the art of craft and handmade is important too including the expression of indigenous tribes and their art and pattern.
The Campana brothers – Humberto and Fernando, born in 1961, are brothers from Brazil who have achieved national and international success as artists, furniture designers, interior designers and architects. Their work incorporates their focus on the environment and the idea of re-using and re-inventing everyday materials to achieve some Brazilian characteristics, notably bright colours, creative chaos and the triumph of simple solutions.
Their studio works in partnership with local communities, factories and industries. They have won multiple awards including the order of cultural merit in Brazil.
They have worked with Alessi and Fontana Arte on unlimited edition pieces, and their studio crafts its own unique handmade pieces. Those special editions are included in the permanent collections of renowned cultural institutions such as the museum of modern art in New York, the centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Vitra design museum in Weil Am Rhein, Germany.
In 2009 and in 2012 they reinterpreted the traditional lacoste polo shirt. Set design is another interest and their sets have been featured by The Ballet National de Marseille and in a production of peter and the wolf at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The brothers have created a collection of Brazilian jewellery for H.Stern, shoes and bags for Grendene, and multiple furniture creations for the Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades collection. The objects pay homage to the house’s special orders of the past and add the contemporary visions of selected creative designers from around the world. Each object is a mixing of different savoir-faires in an imaginative interpretation of the idea of travel.