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Get to Know Sao Paulo’s Newest Breakout Talents, From Their Youth in Brasilia to Their Latest Collection

With barely a woodgrain in sight, the work of São Paulo duo Ricardo Innecco and Mariana Ramos doesn't look all that Brazilian. And yet even in just the four years since they began working together as Estudio Rain, they've seen a surge in the Brazilian market's interest in their brand of conceptual minimalism, allowing them to push their practice in an even more experimental direction. We recently spoke with them about that shift, as well as about their formative years in Brasilia, and what inspired their latest collection.
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An Up-and-Coming Brazilian Designer On Lightness, Gravity, and the Future

“Before studying product design, I almost graduated with a business degree,” says Guilherme Wentz, the São Paulo–based designer who, in 2016, partnered with entrepreneur Rafael Gehrke to form WENTZ, a new line of furnishings, lighting, and accessories. “But at the time, I was not happy with the job and life I had. I realized I wanted to live in a simpler and maybe more disruptive way.” Since then, the up-and-coming Brazilian designer has become a serious talent to watch, what with his spare, nature-infused creations blurring the boundary between old and new.
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tinted concrete furniture by Magnus Pettersen

Experiments in Concrete, From a Scandinavian By Way of Brazil

Magnus Pettersen's experiments in tinted concrete furniture (which is, apparently, becoming a thing) have been fascinating us ever since the Norwegian designer unveiled a pitch-perfect debut collection with his partner Lea Hein at the Stockholm Furniture Fair last year (not to mention the beautiful, blocky, sculptural seat in hues of dusky blue and yellow Pettersen recently launched with Danish design brand New Works). But to delve even deeper into the possibilities of concrete as a raw material and color as an unpredictable intervention, Pettersen recently spent 60 days at a residency in Sao Paulo, Brazil, creating 10 new works in which the brutality of concrete is tempered by the application of organic, painterly swirls of color — in much more vibrant hues than Pettersen is typically known for.
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The Hip New Face of Brazilian Design

Pedro Paulo Venzon Is the Hip New Face of Brazilian Design

History looms large over Brazilian design — how to compete with tropical modernism? Sergio Rodrigues? Lina Bo Bardi? Everyone's got it pegged, which is why the work of Pedro Paulo Venzon is so exciting: He's the first young up-and-coming Brazilian designer we've seen who's totally nailing the delicate balance between paying homage to the legacy of his forebears, and developing an aesthetic that's new, cool, and relevant to the international contemporary scene.
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The Campana Brothers at Friedman Benda

If you’re a longtime reader of Sight Unseen, you know it’s rare that we write about a big-name designer. In part, it’s a question of access — it’s far easier to get an RCA grad on the phone than, say, Hella Jongerius. But it’s also a question of ubiquity: If you read a bunch of design blogs, you’re going to hear about something like Yves Behar’s new Smart Lock until your face falls off. But the Campana Brothers — despite being one of the biggest names in design — have somehow always eluded that extreme ubiquity.
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What inspired your Batucada series? “Music and cans. In Brazil, people in the favelas play instruments made of tin and aluminum pots, and ‘batucada’ is the percussion sound made by beating them. The process interested me in general because Brazil recycles 98% of its aluminum — it’s a record. The cans are collected by hand by people who collect trash in the street. It’s a crazy system but it works very well. The factory that spins the aluminum for me uses recycled metal.”

Brunno Jahara, Product Designer

If you think about it in the context of design, Brazil is a lot like America: A vast, relatively young country with a tiny cadre of contemporary designers struggling both to step out of the long shadow of their mid-century forebears, and to create objects in a near-industrial vacuum. But you won’t hear Brazilian designer Brunno Jahara complaining — having lived in dozens of European countries, worked under Jaime Hayon at Fabrica, and run a freelance business from Amsterdam before moving back to São Paulo a few years ago, he credits his native country as being the catalyst for his newfound success. “In Brazil I have all the freedom I didn’t have in Europe, because there’s a whole historical background over there that holds you to making things in a certain way,” says the 32-year-old.
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Myself: “I am constantly gathering inspiration from my personal universe and experiences,” says Abbade. Case in point: her website, where Abbade hosts a series of self-portraits done in Photoshop, needlepoint, pencil, and the like, as well as a styling library where she often appears half-naked in neon pink bikini bottoms along with one other key piece. “At one point, I decided to catalog everything I own,” she says. “As a stylist you get a lot for free, but also when you have a specific style, people are always giving you thimgs. I was going to shoot one piece at a time, but I started with the stuff on my floor and never made to the drawers or the closet!”

Renata Abbade, designer and stylist

A lot of designers call themselves multidisciplinary, but they’ve got nothing on Renata Abbade. A former stylist for magazines like Purple and fashion brands like VPL, the São Paulo–born, Los Angeles–based designer has spent the better part of the last decade involved in a wonderfully weird array of activities: creating a cult jewelry line in ceramics, dancing on stage at Lollapalooza with the Brazilian band CSS, starring in a series of self-produced dance and workout videos (including one for CSS, in which she wore masks depicting each of the band members’ faces), designing terrariums, landscapes, rugs, tapestries, and fabrics, DJing down in Brazil, and performing with a semi-fictitious band called High Waisted. She refers to herself both as a freestylist and a fashion artist, but in truth, what she’s often creating amounts to something more like performance art, where she is the subject, channeling personal interests and experiences into new and different media. “To me, it feels like I’m only doing one thing, even if I’m involved in a lot of different things,” says Abbade. “Like with the terrariums, it’s basically styling with plants instead of clothes, and land instead of people.”
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A recently completed Banquete chair.

The Campana Brothers, Furniture Designers

This story was originally published on June 9, 2010. Veuve Clicquot's renovated Hotel du Marc is set to open this fall. // In their most famous works, Fernando and Humberto Campana construct by a process of accumulation, looping yards of sail rope around seat frames or folding velvet tubing in on itself to create amoeba-like sofas. So it's fitting that visitors to the brothers’ São Paulo studio should find behind its unremarkable metal grate rooms and shelves stacked high with stuff — weird material experiments by the studio’s half-dozen in-house artisans, miniature models and prototypes, artifacts the brothers picked up on their travels, miles of scrap, and dozens and dozens of sketches. In some ways, it all seems an extension of São Paulo itself, a city of 20 million that in the last century has sprawled so far and wide it’s annexed, at last count, five different downtown areas.
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Rodrigo Almeida's new collection — built by hand in his São Paulo studio — includes the Concreta chair shown here. It's made from wood and rope, with sparkly plastic cushions. Color is a huge element of Almeida's work. "When I walk in Brazil, the greens are so strong, sky is so blue — it’s different," he says. "I lived for a few years in the U.S., and while the flowers are more beautiful, the green is more like gray. So you get a spot of color, but not blocks of color like in Brazil. These are the kinds of things you internalize as a designer."

Rodrigo Almeida, Furniture Designer

To any reader who went to design school and is, years later, still making student loan payments month after month, you might want to close your eyes for this one: Rodrigo Almeida — the 34-year-old Brazilian furniture designer who's pals with the Campana brothers, has been featured in Wallpaper, and has made pieces for top galleries like Contrasts and FAT — didn't go to university, not even as an undergrad. What you're looking at here is raw talent, and a career that began when Almeida simply picked up the Brazilian magazine Arc Design six years ago and thought, "I want to do that."
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