A look into the new scenario and generation of brazilian design.
To understand the current brazilian design scene a wider deference about the reality of the country is necessary and we must overcome the romantic notion of Bossa Nova or the vibrant rebellion of Tropicália. The mask fell off – not those Carnaval ones – and the country of World Cup and the next Olympics faces once again a moment of deep transformation: political, economic, social and cultural. That’s not strange to brazilians, inured to a miscellaneous and dynamic country, also anxious and clumsy. With the population celebrating the folkloric festivities, as always, while fear an unknown future, skipping from euphoric growth to a felling of eminent crisis in frightening speed.
Consequently, this is not strange to the designer, sensitive to it’s cultural heritage, the ethnically diversity, the amount of natural resources and all the multi-colored qualities of Brazil, but at the same time lives in a harsh reality in which design needs support – industrial, economic and cultural. Having said that, the designer has never been so dedicated to to build himself a market. Understood the power of the collective and flirts with the industry while rescues craft techniques from the past. New creators are understanding the necessity to expand the horizons, the need for experimentation and improvement to react against country’s specific moment.
But first it’s important to aqcuire it’s own aesthetics, or maybe lots of different ones, that stops paying homage to modernism and it’s european roots to embrace new shapes, and that’s exactly what’s happening. Campana brothers showed us two decades ago it is possible and gradually the authorial design becomes more and more plural and less mimetic of Fernando and Humberto’s universe. To the widely promoted collage technique and the appropriation of unconvencional materials there’s a complement based on more contained forms, in a kind of minimalism attempt, and pre-industrial processes, like the experiments of 80e8 duo.
And if the difficulty still exists for those trying to create something new aside the standardized furniture industry, based mainly on wood and limited technology, there’s a group very dedicated to woodworking and all crafts involved, with knowledge and ecological awareness. At a time that natural and handmade processes lives a rediscovery by the new generation worlwide, there are really remarkable works being produced in Brazil, like the case of Rodrigo Silveira and the cariocas Rodrigo Calixto e Ricardo Graham Ferreira.
Another driving force in this search for alternative production is the research of susteinable materials and techniques – from the well known reuse, like Brunno Jahara’s Multiplástica Doméstica collection of bowls and lamps created from different shapes and sizes of bottle caps, to the experimentation with raw materials, as the work of Mauricio Affonso with loofah or Domingos Tótora’s impressive and sturdy furniture made of recycled cardboard.
In the current scenario there’s still also a significant space for popular culture’s inspirations and crafts, like the works developed by designers Sérgio Matos and Marcelo Rosenbaum, that blend materials, themes and traditions to social inclusion and a contemporary trace.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the present moment is the emerging partnerships and the appearance of design collectives, formed by creators interested in exchanging experiences to promote a market closer to their efforts and with greater participation in the creative economy without losing their identity. That’s the case of collectives that joins young designers with more established names, like Armorial group, with designer Zanini de Zanine, and (In)vasão, with Rodrigo Almeida e Carol Gay. Ahead this second one is Waldick Jatobá, a curator fully dedicated to the recognition of this new creators in other projects as well, like the MADE fair (Market. Art. Design) – an annual event of collectible design and important showcase for the new generation, being responsible for the debut of many promising figures.
MADE that this year adventure to cross the Atlantic to be part of Milan’s Salone, presenting for the first time a collection of indigenous stools from XIX century in parallel to a summary of all these contemporary lines of work that has in commom “the truth of the material”. Brazil’s current generation seems ready to show it is competitive, unique and promising – and that we can still love our modern rosewood furniture, respect the native culture, admire the Campana brothers, but did not commit any sin by adventuring into the new.