Camila Takiri is Karim Rashid's lead architect working on hotels in Berlin and Bangkok, a subway station in Naples, and an art show in Rio among other things. She is also Rashid's agent in Brazil where she is negotiating projects with large industries.
Why did you end up working in New York rather than returning to Brazil?
I came to New York at the age of 21 to study at Parsons and worked here all through my 20s with an amazing mentor, great clients and projects. These are opportunities I would not have in Brazil back then. I think now it's a different scenario.
So you think there are many opportunities for designers in Brazil?
Absolutely. I see huge potential in Brazilian industry to embrace design not as a frivolous thing but as an economic and transforming force. We have huge internal market and production capabilities, and we are working to produce better products, not only decorative items for the elite. One feels optimism and an economic boom, and I think Brazilians are ready.
What things do you miss most about Brazil?
Horizons and nature, friendliness and warmth. Brazilians work really hard but we know how to have a good time even under difficult circumstances.
What Brazilian things do you do in New York? Do you think it is tapped in to the Brazilian way of life in any way?
I bring my culture into my daily life, and my work routine. I have a large group of Brazilian friends here, and when we are together we have long lunches with loud conversations, never watching the clock and always welcoming everybody. Brazilians tend to find solutions rather than problems and have an elegant and relaxed (not lazy) approach to life.
Are there any Brazilian expressions that would do well translated in to English?
If you think a woman is way too good looking for a certain guy you can tell him: 'She's too much sand for your little truck to carry'.
How do you think being Brazilian has shaped your aesthetic?
Brazil has taught me from an early age how to find beauty among disorder and poverty. There is no perfection, but there is beauty every where you look. Beauty can be found not only in architecture, but in the people, the light, the richness of nature and its colours. It taught me how to look from different perspectives at all times and live with different cultural backgrounds.