SP-Arte, Latin America's largest art fair, opened a new design section for its 12th edition that took place between 6–10 April.

The founder and director of the fair, Fernanda Feitosa, who is a design furniture collector herself, said that she had wanted to launch this section for a long time, to fully realise Brazilian design as a prominent global tradition. Feitosa explains, 'I thought it was very important to promote Brazilian design within Brazil but also to attract more interest from international museum curators and collectors.'

The São Paulo fair focused on the history and the making of Brazilian design, featuring colonial, modern, and contemporary pieces. The furniture reflects the local landscape in its abundant use of wood; while early examples of Brazilian design employed sophisticated and skillful woodwork, today's designers also drew attention to environmental issues while continuing to use wood as a material. 

Alongside antiquary Itamar Musse's 19th century traditional furniture of rosewood and straw, the galleries Legado Arte and Artemobilia presented works by mid-20th century designers such as Sérgio Rodrigues, Oscar Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi and Joaquim Tenreiro. ETEL featured re-editions by these designers, as well as by Jewish Ukrainian and Brazilian architect Gregori Warchavchik and the Polish-Brazilian architect and designer Jorge Zalszupin.

Other notable creators who took part in the SP-Arte design section were José Marton, with his playful and colourful works, and Jacqueline Terpins, with her delicate glass pieces.

This year, the fair welcomed 140 exhibitors from 17 countries across all its sections, up from 120 last year. The design section, with its 23 galleries, marks a further expansion of the fair, after new additions to the 2015 edition: Open Plan, an installation section; and Performa, a performing arts section.

Held in the historic Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, designed by Pritzker winner Niemeyer, the fair showed once more how the lines between design and art are blurring.