90-year-old Jorge Zalszupin was born in Warsaw, Poland, and immigrated to São Paulo in 1949, where he established himself as one of the main voices in Brazilian modern design and architecture. Initiating the seminal L’Atelier woodshop in 1955, Zalszupin has designed some of the most recognizable and sought after Brazilian mid-century furniture, as well as several architectural projects – both commercial and residential – dispersed in the S.P. capital.
On a recent visit to Jorge Zalszupin’s own home in São Paulo, which he designed and built in the 1950’s, his life trajectory was easily identified through the decor and architecture of the site: modern elements and clean lines – seen in the curved slatted wooden ceiling and floating fireplace – commingle with more rustic Old-World aspects – such as a stonewall, exposed wooden beams and spanish tiling. At times conjuring an Eastern European fairy-tale abode, at times an ultra-modern setting (complete with tropical psychedelic notes), details around every corner reveal Zalszupin’s unique sensibility and aesthetics that embrace a warm, cozy and eclectic atmosphere.
While assorted paintings, hung salon-style, and intricate spreads of knick-knacks and objet d’arts may guide you through Zalsuzpin’s cheerful lifestyle, original furniture pieces from his oeuvre, such as the Paulistana and the Dinamarquesa armchairs, accentuate his living room. Allowing an entryway to the original context in which these pieces existed, unexpected elements are revealed: as the vermillion and black floral brocade used to upholster the Paulistana, or the leopard-print throw pillow and colorful embroidery adorning the Dinamarquesa .
Zalszupin’s iconic furniture designs are presently re-edited, with the utmost craftsmanship and FSC-Certified woods, by the atelier of Etel Carmona in São Paulo, and are available in Europe and the US exclusively at ESPASSO.
Art+Auction’s Must-Haves picks for the month of June highlighted Brazilian modern furnishings. Included on their selection is Jorge Zalszupin‘s playful and functional JZ tea trolley, 1950, and beautiful Petalas coffee table, 1962; Sergio Rodrigues‘ iconic Oscar armchair, 1956, named after Oscar Niemeyer and part of the original project of Brasília; and Gregori Warchavchic‘s modern classic Circular side table designed in 1930.
Simon Keane-Cowell, for Swiss architecture and design website Architonic (“The architect’s perspective on buildings, interiors, design and materials”) gave a run down of this year’s New York Design Week, focusing on exhibitors from Latin America. Indicative of both the growing economical and expressive place Latin America has recently attainted globally, and of NY’s cultural melting pot, Keane-Cowell’s highlights works and firms from Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala, and closes the article citing ESPASSO as the place in NY “…which provides the biggest stage in the city for Latin American design.” Full article here.
Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is most known for his revolutionary Brutalist works that earned him the much-honored Pritzker prize in 2006.
Amid the concrete and glass monumental structure of his seminal 1957 Athletic Club of São Paulo, Rocha created the timeless classic Paulistano armchair to grace the club’s gymnasium. Comprised of a single 17’ bent piece of steel and draped leather or canvas slipcover, Rocha designed the Paulistano armchair with comfort and leisure in mind, and cites both the ‘…weightlessness of an astronaut in outer space, and the laze of the natives lulling on a hammock…’ as inspiration for the gentle sway, ease and minimal lines of his design.
A marker in Brazilian modernism, the Paulistano is now available in a cool charcoal-toned steel base, as an added option to the classic black carbon or stainless steel original, and to the white outdoor Paulistano introduced last year. Part of the collection at MoMA, NY, the Paulistano is truly a 20th century design classic that increasingly captivates attention for over 50 years!
With an aptly subtitle called “An Atlas of Modern Landscapes”, this show does much more than giving context to Le Corbusier’s designs: it also highlights the importance of traveling as the best way of learning and educating oneself. Le Corbusier lived his life as a journey (a puposeful one that is) and you can see that reflected in how his work evolved through the times, from the “machine for living” to the dramatic concrete expressions of Ronchamp. Sorry Google Glasses, but nothing beats experiencing the real world!
Paul Clemence, Architectural Photography.
Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes. MoMA, New York. June 15 – Sept 23
Opening today, at Friedman Benda Gallery, is the first US gallery solo exhibition of renowned design duo Campana Brothers.
Quite possibly the most internationally influential and acclaimed Brazilian contemporary designers around, the exhibition introduces new bodies of work that exemplify the playful, conceptual and critical practice of the Campana Brothers.
Known for utilizing unexpected materials to compose their work, the exhibition features their new Boca (mouth) series, that combines cow hide, brass, Fiberglass and aluminum; the wonderfully inventive Alligator sofa and armchair, made up of numerous stuffed leather alligator toys, made by OrientaVida (an NGO that employs underprivileged women); the magical Amethyst cabinet, a glass vitrine adorned with São Paulo-sourced amethyst rocks, the Pirarucu cabinet, entirely upholstered with the sustainably harvested tanned and leathered skin of the Brazilian Pirarucu (the world’s largest fresh water fish), among other captivating and innovative pieces.
The Campana Brothers’ choice and play of materials reveal a whimsical approach to their work, simultaneously conjuring humor, criticality and social awareness; disparate materials commingle and are often repurposed or outsourced from sustainable/fair trade productions, and are elevated into a fantastical realm of high-end design while still retaining indexes of their origin and sociocultural properties.
On an insightful interview on The Wall Street journal this past weekend, architect Stephan Jaklitsch, most known for designing the Marc Jacob’s stores, talks about his inspirations, favorite things and current obsessions. Among being currently fascinated by Islamic architecture, listing Donald Judd and Milton Avery as his favorite artists, Jaklitsch nods to ESPASSO when asked to fill in the blanks to the prompt: ” There’s a real spirit to – the contemporary Brazilian furniture at Espasso [in London, Los Angeles and New York]. It can be quite formal, or very free-form and relaxed.” Full interview can be read here.