Brazilian design unlocked at Espasso’s first Milan Design Week showcase

Brazilian design unlocked at Espasso’s first Milan Design Week showcase

If your knowledge of Brazilian design stalls out at Oscar Niemeyer and Lina Bo Bardi, think again. From midcentury and beyond, Brazil has consistently churned out some of the globe’s most interesting furniture concepts, fuelled by the country’s deep-rooted woodworking and craft traditions. Since 2002, UK- and US-based gallery Espasso has been earnestly proselytising this fact, flinging the brightest of Brazilian design across both sides of the pond.

This year, Espasso will spread the word on Italian soil with Connections, their first ever Salone del Mobile presentation in Milan. The 15-piece presentation will offer a tightly curated survey from the early 20th-century to today, wading into the wealth of talent the country consistently produces and cherry-picking the best. ‘The goal of Espasso is to create awareness of Brazilian design,’ founder Carlos Junqueira tells us from his home base in São Paulo. ‘The industry is booming at the moment. There are a lot of good people and lots of great talent.’

CJ1 by Carlos Motta for Espasso

The presentation will include pieces by contemporary designers like Claudia Moreira Salles, whose ‘Domino’ concrete bench — a smooth concrete slab with four indented seats that seem as soft as upholstered textiles — will be shown alongside Ronald Sasson’s ‘Urca’ lounger chair, which pays homage to the rolling peaks of Rio de Janeiro’s Sugarloaf Mountain while employing mid-century construction methods.

There will be iconic vintage pieces like Ricardo Fasanello’s swivelling egg-like ‘Esfera’ lounge in fibreglass (produced as a re-edition for its 50th anniversary) and solid wool stools by Jose Zanine Caldas, naturally forged from reclaimed tree trunks –  each piece carefully chosen to foster a dialogue between generations. A capsule collection entitled Espasso+ will also feature pieces by Gisela Simas, Rodrigo Ohtake, and Ronald Sasson, produced exclusively for Espasso.

CJ1 by Carlos Motta for Espasso
Detail of Domino Concreto Bench by Claudia Moreira Salles

‘It’s a conversation between the old and the new,’ explains Junqueira of his curatorial decisions, ‘there is a clear connection between the Brazilian designers from the forties and fifties, the designers of the 1080s and 90s and the new designers working today. The idea is to show the history. So we have the classics by Oscar Niemeyer, Jorge Zalszupin and Sergio Rodrigues, but also we have the contemporary and the newcomers — which I think is just as important.’

Espasso will show the collection at Corso Garibaldi 117 from 9 – 14 April. UK-based Tala lighting will also be on hand to illuminate the installation. §

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