365 Curatorship : Design With History
14 May 2021, 8 am
How did I make my selection of pieces in this first edition of 365 Curatorship? Well, first of all it is necessary to say that I have been following the work of all the chosen designers for a long time and, with the exception of the Alva Design vases, launched in this SP–Arte action with Preview, I already knew the works and knew of their concepts (some more than others), because they are creations from previous years. All are timeless pieces, which I like very much. It is also worth mentioning Etel’s proposal with Inês Schertel, which revisits an existing product to give it a new look.
I also tried to bring an array of different types and materials: there is wood and soapstone, as well as metal, as in the case of the Alta 22 armchair, by Paulo Mendes da Rocha with the architectural firm MMBB. There are established names and those of a new generation. I mention Gustavo Bittencourt, the duo Alva and Ana Neute, who with two other professionals signs the Bioma stamps, a playful, unusual and very current proposal.
For me, this select set of design contains great artistic expressiveness. In the case of the work of Maria Fernando Paes de Barros, it is pure poetry. I saw the work in a tree-lined square in São Paulo and it touched me deeply, perhaps even because Brazil is a country with such frequent threats to indigenous peoples.
I believe that a product should hook you first by sight, but without a doubt, it is its history and purpose that arouses the desire to own it.
Anyone who follows Jacqueline Terpins‘ work knows her taste for challenging the limits of materials, whether in glass or wood. The “U em balanço Console Table” is an example. The base with two identical volumes of wood supports the oval top at one end. On the other side, the top even seems to levitate. The cantilevered structure, a feature widely used in architecture, reinforces the visual lightness of the ensemble: three elements of organic lines arranged in an unconventional way. And it is thus, with an innovative look and surgical precision, that the Paraiba-native, now living in São Paulo, has been transforming furniture into sculptures for years.
Susana Bastos and Marcelo Alvarenga — she, a plastic artist, and he, an architect — take advantage of the raw material popular among artisans in Minas Gerais, the duo’s home state, to introduce it into the world of contemporary design. Since 2014, the Alva Design duo has designed sculptural objects with soapstone. This time, the Anatomia I and II biomorphic vessels explore the concept of duality: hard and soft, inside and out, positive and negative. Inspiration comes from the coiled rope. In vase I, the buds are sculpted on the inside and, in II, on the outside, which shows the plasticity of this centuries-old, traditional stone.
In “Onde quero deixar meu reflexo?”, Maria Fernanda Paes de Barros, from São Paulo, shows her professional maturity, achieved during the few years she has dedicated herself to design-art. Here, she joins the artist Kulikyrda Mehinaku, from the upper Xingu, to warn about the wildfires in Brazilian forests. On the one side, the zoomorfo bank, characteristic of indigenous culture. On the other, the broken branch and, between the two, a mirror, representing the division between art and nature neglected by the action of man. When inviting the public to sit down, the duo proposes a moment of reflection on how our actions determine the future of the planet.
Paulo Mendes da Rocha + MMBB
“22 High Armchair” from the series “,Ovo Public”, 2020
Furniture: 63 × 80 × 77 cm
Just like the iconic Paulistano, conceived in the 1950s for the Clube Paulistano, the “22 High Armchair” was born to integrate the line of furniture developed for Sesc 24 de Maio, also in the capital of São Paulo. In this project, Paulo Mendes da Rocha joins the architects Marta Moreira and Milton Braga, from MMBB, to create this and other sculptural pieces out of sheet metal. The modernist language remains, as the 2006 Pritzker Prize prefers. Fortunately, the seal “,Ovo Public”, dedicated to furniture for public spaces, is producing the entire “Linha 22”, which can now be purchased for residential environments.
In a world so saturated with products, it is pleasing to see that it is possible to reinvent while starting from the same concept. In the “Lilly Lamp”, a partnership between Etel Carmona and the gaucho Inês Schertel, the Poste floor lamp, developed years earlier by the São Paulo designer, is revisited. With the Inês’ intervention, the piece gets a wool cord that begins from the domes of the same material and wraps itself around the central axis, evoking flowers hanging from the stem. The contrast between materials, textures and craft techniques gives this item of rational principles a precious character.
Of the new generation of designers, Gustavo Bittencourt is one that I see as having found his own path. Among his pieces, I highlight “Verga Commode”, a reinterpretation of the vintage chest of drawers, in which the designer plays with volumes, shapes and materials. Solid wood opposes metal in a game of hot and cold, light and robust. The bulky box is supported by the thin structure, in reference to the pillars of modernist architecture. Gustavo also adds the playfulness to the project: hollow niches allow for the drawers to be moved around, creating different compositions. The handles reinforce the minimalist line of the furniture, made in his studio in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro.
Graduated in architecture, Ana Neute designs lamps and furniture for national companies, but she also finds time to create special projects, such as the “Bioma” collection, conceived with Otávio Coelho and the artist Thiago Fink. Arranged in boxes, the stamps reproduce details of trees, leaves, branches and fruits. They are sculpted by hand in repurposed wood from six native Brazilian trees: angelim-pedra, cabreúva, freijó, imbuia, jequitibá-rosa and sucupira. The initiative plans on cataloging these and other species of our flora. Undoubtedly, an object of desire that pleases both adults and children.
An ancestral material, ceramic fascinates us for its manuality and multiple effects. In the series “Disforma”, Claudia Issa, from Konsepta, dispenses with the pottery wheel to sculpt clay with the use of gravity. What could be imperfection turns out to be unique, drawing attention for its rare beauty. The São Paulo native, who worked for many years as a graphic designer, ventures on new discoveries to create timeless and genuine pieces, like this one.