Second life: Etel gives Lina Bo Bardi’s furniture a new lease on life
Brazilian furniture company Etel is launching a new series of reissues, taking on the work of Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. A collection of four pieces was presented this week, part of a larger range of 12 re-editions, which the company will release over the next year.
‘Etel’s philosophy is to retell and preserve the history of Brazilian design, and to value the artistic legacy of these great designers,’ explains Lissa Carmona, daughter of founder Etel Carmona and now at the helm of the family-run company. They produce furniture by living Brazilian architects and designers, alongside reissues by the likes of Oscar Niemeyer and Sérgio Rodrigues.
Carmona’s passion for Bo Bardi brought her to explore her furniture work, which until now, was never produced on a large scale. Working closely with the Instituto Lina Bo and P. M. Bardi, the Carmona family selected 12 pieces from the architect’s furniture repertoire. Throughout her career as an architect, Bo Bardi expanded her reach, working on landscape design, urbanism, graphic design and illustration, as well as designed the furniture for her buildings (such as the iconic MASP in Sao Paulo). Her furniture successfully merged a modernist, innovative aesthetic with traditional Brazilian concepts.
Mainly seating, the pieces were designed as part of her partnership with Giancarlo Palanti under the Palma Art Studio, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Bo Bardi adapted her design to the manufacturing possibilities of the Brazilian industry at the time, using steel tubes, wood leather and indigenous textiles. Some of the pieces, such as the Brass Balls chair, were designed for Bo Bardi’s own residence in Sao Paulo, a glass house in the middle of a tropical garden where Etel chose to present the collection to the Brazilian public. Other designs never reached the prototype stage, let alone go into production. These have been manufactured by the company following Bo Bardi’s sketches.
Carmona notes how freedom was always at the core of Bo Bardi’s work, and the aspect of her production that mainly attracts her and interests her. ‘Lina’s work is of very high importance,’ she adds, ’because as a multifaceted artist she has left an unquestionable legacy to Brazil and therefore deserves a place of prominence in the ETEL Collection.’