At the table with Heloísa Crocco

I got to know Heloísa Crocco and her work through Adélia Borges, whom I met the day before I left to Porto Alegre. I was going to stay in a hotel there, but Adélia called Heloísa to ask if her “wooden box” studio on the outskirts of Porto Alegre, by the Guaíba river, would be free the next 2 days. This is where she welcomes friends, artists and curators there as a sort of informal artists’ residence. Lucky for me, it was free. Continue reading At the table with Heloísa Crocco

A vote for South America’s design capital


I only saw the sun for three hours during the six days I spent in Rio de Janeiro last August. My one and only stroll down Copacabana beach took place under a rain storm, while three-meter waves pounded the shore. I was lucky to even get a view of the city (above) from the top of the Corcovado. The last week of my one-month research trip in Brazil may have been anything but sun-kissed, but I didn’t need to get a tan to think Rio de Janeiro is today in a great place to become South America’s main design destination. Continue reading A vote for South America’s design capital

Tancredo Neves


The Belo Horizonte airport is a great place to arrive (in Brazil or anywhere). I couldn’t figure out who the architect was, but the curving concrete structure is more open air than an air-tight building. The air, the late afternoon light and the openess reminded me Sandakan airport in Borneo . It’s also full of those little modernist dark wood+concrete details, and you can still see some of the certainly original lowercase Helvetica Medium signs (after the jump). I’ll be coming back in a few weeks. 


Alvorada leaves the country


After 31 days, seven cities and over 25 interviews and many, many hours of observations, conversations and reflections on Brazilian design, I left Rio at dusk on August 26th.

I will keep updating from Lisbon and – as of September 14th – from New York, with more mini-profiles, stories and other findings.

I intend on returning to São Paulo for a week (October 19th to 25th) for some more interviews – if I can work out the necessary funding.


The Apple Tree


When asked about why he writes, Portuguese writer Antonio Lobo Antunes once answered: “Ask an apple tree why it bears apples”. During our conversation at his studio/showroom in Humaitá, Sérgio Rodrigues used this very quote to describe his own work, an analogy he uses to answer the people who question him about “not following trends” or designing today things that seem to have been designed 40 years ago. Continue reading The Apple Tree

Shared views


Shortly after I arrived in Recife, Patrícia Amorim and her boyfriend Raul Aguiar took me to Olinda for lunch and for the view. Patrícia is the main reason I actually came here: she wrote me an email on the day I left Lisbon for São Paulo, where she said she has been writing on design for newspapers and magazines here in Pernambuco, wrote her master dissertation on how design has been featured in 5 years of the Veja magazine, helped out Adélia Borges on her curation for the “Fronteiras: Design Brasileiro Hoje” exhibition and – if all that wasn’t enough – is thinking on applying for the D-Crit programme. I immediately considered adding Recife to my itinerary just to talk to her and learn more about all the things she mentioned. Continue reading Shared views

An Exploration of Brazilian Design