Espasso celebrates long-lost furniture designs by Brazilian greats Oscar Niemeyer and Jorge Zalszupin
New York design gallery Espasso has long flown the flag for Brazilian furniture and design, a subject equally close to our own hearts. Its latest undertaking opening tomorrow, ’Compasso’, sees the gallery host the reissue of an exciting selection of furniture pieces by two Brazilian design legends: Oscar Niemeyer and Jorge Zalszupin.
The collection on display comprises four pieces by Niemeyer and a whopping 20 from Zalszupin. Niemeyer’s quartet - comprising the ’Rio’ rocking chaise, ’Marquesa’ bench, ’Alta’ armchair and matching ottoman - was originally designed in the 1970s together with his daughter Ana Niemeyer. Zalszupin’s line, meanwhile, spans benches, armchairs, coffee tables and sofas dating back to the 1960s. With production for the latter halted shortly after its launch, and Niemeyer’s pieces rarely issued since the 1970s, these designs were almost only sighted as vintage specimens at auction.
Today, they have been brought back from extinction by Etel Interiores in São Paulo, the pioneering furniture-making firm run by Etel Carmona, which holds traditional craftsmanship at its core. It was Carmona who spearheaded the rediscovery of Zalszupin in the mid-Noughties (see W* 177), and reintroduced many of his iconic creations to a new audience. With Carmona at the helm, the revival of Niemeyer and Zalszupin’s designs is set to add a fresh dimension to the reputations of two of the most beloved Brazilian designers.
Espasso’s showcase will also celebrate the launch of Zalszupin’s first monograph, ’Jorge Zalszupin: Design Moderno’. Written by Maria Cecilia Loschiao do Santos, a professor of design at the School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo, the stylish tome pays tribute to the 85-year-old architect/designer and the creations that came out of L’Atelier, the collective of architects, designers, craftsmen and engineers who helped produce the furniture that would come to represent Brazil in the sixties and seventies.