Thirty minutes after I arrived at my hotel in Curitiba this Saturday night I was out again to meet Alex, Mauro, Diego and Fabiano (who left before I took the photo). Mauro Rego and Alexander Czajkowski are two fourths of Boana Estudio, a young design collective based in the three Brazilian cities. I heard from them after Fernando Galdino left a comment on one of my first posts here in Alvorada, and immediately got in touch with them. Alex is still studying here, and Mauro is now teaching in Florianópolis. Gabriel Rodrigues is in Florianópolis too, and Erica Ribeiro lives in Salvador, Bahia. What led me to contact them was not only their unique working arrangement, but the fact Boana worked on the very first documentary on N Design, the Brazilian design student convention.
Entitled A Folha que Sobrou do Caderno (English title Something Worth Leaving Behind), this documentary is a series of interviews with students, professors and professionals about the role, the impact and the future of Brazilian design and the people who are now studying in the area. 48,000 students graduated in design last year from over 400 programmes all over the country, and the figures are rising. From the very first industrial design school in the country (Rio de Janeiro’s ESDI, which opened in 1963) to art schools with design degrees in cities like Salvador or Brasília, from more trade-oriented institutes in the industry-rich southern states to “advertising art director factories” in São Paulo, design students in Brazil are anything but uniform. N Design, or N, is held once a year in a different city, and is the place where everyone comes together to meet, network, present their work and discuss their education and their profession. This year’s N, which took place in Recife, gathered about 4500 2500 students (thanks Rafael for the correction!), nothing like the 4500 who went to Florianopolis in 2007. Alex, Diego Silvério and Fabiano Braga (all of them students, but already working collectively on projects with Mauro and other people in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Florianópolis under the extended name of Mobile) are organising next year’s N, which will take place here, in the year Curitiba will also host the Brazilian Design Biennale.
It was very rewarding to chat with these guys last night. I got yet another perspective into the reality and the challenges Brazilian designers – from its youngest, most networked and collaborative generation – face in our time of global transition.