Design Seen: Brazilian Love Affair
The South American nation’s top designers show their passion for natural forms, indigenous woods, and sustainable materials.
1. Hugo França
Living with native tribes in Bahia taught França woodworking techniques and reverence for trees. He carves reclaimed pequi trunks by hand, and, just as Michelangelo did with marble, frees the art within. Shown: his Chara bench ($120,000).
2. Jacqueline Terpins
The São Paolo–based, multidisciplinary artist and designer, who works with wood, glass, metal, and other materials, reveals her architectural and sculptural training in her stainless-steel, 27-ounce Trama teapot ($300).
3. Zanini De Zanine
Son of José Zanine Caldas and onetime student of Sergio Rodrigues—two chief influencers of Brazilian modernism—Zanine produces works as impressive as his lineage, as evidenced in his Tiss chair ($1,900) of tauari wood and cane.
4. Claudia Moreira Salles
A native of Rio de Janeiro, Salles creates products for many companies, including Etel Interiores, for which she made the Mesa Cubo Libre Central ($9,950 to $18,500). The table is available in a variety of sizes and responsibly harvested woods.
5. Carol Gay
For her Noar chair (about $1,200), the São Paolo–born Gay—who studied with the Campana Brothers before starting a collective named No Tech—stretched recycled car tires across a stainless-steel frame.
6. Domingos Tórtora
Tórtora and his team recycle cardboard in the mountain village of Maria da Fé, mashing it into pulp, then compacting and sanding it to a woodlike consistency. These 100 percent sustainable “rocks” serve as the base for the Agua table ($3,100).
7. Julia Krantz
Drawing on the organic work of Brazil’s midcentury masters, Krantz combines architectural know-how with detailed craftsmanship in Sofá Güell ($50,000). The piece is made of stacked laminated jatoba wood.
8. Simone Coste
The former jewelry designer’s three limited-edition Orion side tables ($13,000 each or $39,000 for the set) feature molded resin tops in a choice of six colors (deep green shown). The tops are set in cast-bronze bases with tapered legs.