Cool without trying to be cool

Brazilian architecture | Itiquira House – Rio de Janeiro

Relaxing and breathing deeply. It may not come as a surprise to anyone that this would be our reaction this exquisitely refurbished residence, located in one of Rio de Janeiro’s most exclusive neighborhood

It has so many of the features we love. The structure seems to belong to the site. The indoor spaces connect with the outdoors, and the subtle surface textures and materials showcase the art and the mid-century modernist vibe of the furnishings.

There is visual room to breathe, to see. There’s space to enjoy the art, distance to appreciate the gardens

It lacks all of the typical design-magazine photo-session set-ups; the painfully over-staged vignettes, the overly sterile designer look. There is no ego or bravado, just ease and style. This is cool without trying to be cool; dramatic without all the drama.

This is that confident, mature style that is so difficult to achieve and impossible to fake.

The white, colonial-style house has good bones to start with: unobtrusive scale and proportions, spectacular site with access to views, natural building materials.

It is also surrounded by sublime mature gardens originally designed by the late Roberto Burle Marx, the designer of the Copacabana Beach Promenade with its distinctive, black-and-white Portuguese geometric wave pattern.

But the already great structure of this house was improved by a recent, complete overhaul by Brazilian architect Gisele Taranto.

The 1,500 square-meter (about 16145 square feet) house consists of two blocks. The larger block is the main family residence, the smaller one accommodates staff rooms, laundry, garage, home theater and the spa that is directly connected with the outside pool and patio area.

Taranto retained this division of functions, but rearranged most of the rooms and built two additional spaces on top of the existing ones: a home office with a roof-top garden on top of the residence, and an additional two-bedroom apartment for staff on top of the other block.

To provide better access to the outside, new, much larger windows and sliding glass doors were created. Wooden exterior slat screens and a wide canopy all around the house were built to provide protection from the extreme sunlight and heavy rains of the area.

 
High-quality natural materials, such as corten steel, limestone, marble and peroba do campo wood are used throughout, but they remain as a subtle background for the art and furnishings.
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Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer inspires New H.Stern jewelry collection

Oscar Niemeyer, 103, is Brazil’s most famous architect. Considered one of the most influential names in international modern architecture, he is responsible for the project of Brasilia, the country’s capital constructed in the late 50’s, and many other iconic buildings including UN’s headquarters in New York, a collaboration with French master Le Corbusier.

Curves have been his passion over the course of a lifetime. They define the architect’s own style: the lightness of the curved forms that create spaces full of harmony, grace and elegance.

The H.Stern by Oscar Niemeyer Collection is the initiative of Roberto Stern, president and creative director of H.Stern, who has always given special emphasis to organic and sinuous forms in jewelry.

“We do not find straight lines in nature, therefore I like asymmetry and irregular contours, which are more human and natural,” said Stern. It was this shared passion with the architect that led Stern to launch   the collection.

For the first time, Niemeyer personally approved a collection of jewelry created in his honor, and based on his own sketches, his curved lines. Several of the designs include pieces inspired by the female form.

“The jewels are extremely pretty and very light. It’s incredible how they have managed to exactly replicate my designs,” the architect said. “The people who made these jewels are very talented!”

The jewelry designers sought inspiration not in the final form of Niemeyer’s revered creations, already widespread, but in their primary element: the apparently unpretentious outlines and contours which are transformed into architectural works like those in Brasília; Pampulha, an architectural project in Minas Gerais state; the Copan building, in São Paulo; and the surprising Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói, considered one of his finest works.

Niemeyer appears to bend straight lines in his concrete structures, transforming curves into a natural solution for his creations. H.Stern does the same with gold and diamonds. Besides the curving contours, empty spaces—so prized by the architect in his concrete sculptures—are also reflected in the jewelry. Rings, bracelets and earrings emphasize simple lines, interspersed with empty spaces.

The H.Stern Collection by Oscar Niemeyer includes jewelry in gold and diamonds, composed of six different lines and named for some of his works and famous projects. They convey the simplicity of the outlines, which are captured in a few, essential lines: loose, free and flowing.

Below are the six lines that make up the collection:

Copan bracelet, in yellow gold

Copan building, in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil

Copan—One of the icons of the famous concrete poetry of the capital São Paulo, the Copan building has hovered like a wave on the horizon of the metropolis since the 1950s, contrasting with the straight angles that predominate in the local architecture. It was the wavy, striking design that was the inspiration behind the Copan jewelry collection, with rings in wavy forms and a voluminous yellow gold bracelet.

Brasília—The architecture of the city of Brasilia, glimpsed in the sketches submitted by Lucio Costa for the international design contest for the new capital of Brazil, was the result of Oscar Niemeyer’s definitive influence. The concave and convex domes of the National Congress and the columns of the Alvorada and Planalto Palaces and the Supreme Court are highly original features. Combining these with the spectacular forms of the columns of the Cathedral and the palaces of Itamaraty and Justica, Niemeyer succeeded in closing the rectangular and symmetrical perspective formed by the repetition of the Esplanada and Ministry buildings.

The concave and convex domes that epitomize the building of the National Congress gave form to an yellow gold bracelet, in which continuous lines and empty spaces encircle the female wrist in a light, sensual way. The jewel reconstructs Niemeyer’s proposal when he planned, in 1958, what was to become one of the most beautiful scenes of the federal capital and one of his 35 works to be listed by the Historical Heritage of the country. Besides the bracelet, there are also earrings in which opposite curves join at the tips, with singular lightness.

Pampulha—The inspiration for this line comes from the sinuous design of the roof of the São Francisco de Assis church in Pampulha, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The project was created by Niemeyer in the 1940s, at the request of Juscelino Kubitschek, then mayor of the city who would later become President of Brazil. The structure was highly controversial due to its bold forms. Niemeyer said, “I covered it with curves, all kinds of curves, as a statement against the architecture characterized by straight lines that predominated up until then.”

The wavy design of this emblematic work was reproduced by H.Stern in rings, earrings and bracelets in white gold and diamonds.

PAMPULHA bracelet in white and diamonds

Pampulha Church, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Sketch—Amid the iconic designs of the Pampulha and the National Congress of Brasília, the wall of Niemeyer’s office displays an intriguing design. Two curved, perpendicular lines appear to form the sketch for one of the consistently bold columns of his buildings. Who has seen the arched columns of the Cathedral of Brasília or the Palácio do Planalto? Or, perhaps, the profile of one of the dish-like domes which he transforms into functional buildings. Or it may be an unpretentious drawing that has not been transformed into works of concrete.

Sketch earrings in yellow gold

 National Congress buildings, in Brasília, the capital city of Brazil

This sketch of extreme simplicity was interpreted by H.Stern in a pair of earrings—in white gold and diamonds—in which the metal line folds between the frontal part and behind the earlobe.

Curves—“If the straight line is the shortest route between two points, the curve is what makes concrete search for the infinite,” said Niemeyer, explaining his preference for fluid, sinuous lines. Curves baptize this line of jewelry with rings and earrings. In the earrings, the strands form wavy layers, one on top of the other. The design explores one of the principle elements of architecture: perspective. The visual impression given differs depending from which the jewelry is viewed.

CURVES Ring in white gold and diamonds

Flower—Niemeyer’s work also includes sketches of singular beauty, like one of a hand holding a flower with four leaves. A single line of form and image, reminiscent of a child’s drawings in its simplicity. This drawing provided the inspiration for pendants and bracelet in yellow gold which represent the flower, closely following the spontaneous vision of the architect and designer.

The gold flowers are hollow, in reference to Niemeyer’s appreciation for unfilled areas. “Architecture is about overcoming spaces… I cannot understand those who are afraid of open spaces. Space is part of architecture.” It is also part of the jewelry.

Brazilian musicians Carlinhos Brown and George Israel have also composed a song to honor the launch of the H.Stern by Oscar Niemeyer Collection. “Linhameyer” (a blending of Niemeyer’s name with the word Linha—“line” in Portuguese)  speaks of the sinuous lines in the architect’s drawings.

H. STERN
645 Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street
New York, New York 10022
212-688-0300
800-747-8376
www.hstern.net

The Giant Is No Longer Asleep

In new spot, giant arises from scenic Sugar Loaf Mountain

After years of hearing Brazil referred to as a sleeping giant, Diageo’s Johnnie Walker is appealing to the fast-growing market with a blockbuster spot recognizing Brazil as a colossus that has finally awakened. In “Rock Giant,” the colossus emerges from Rio de Janeiro’s scenic Sugar Loaf mountain landmark.

“We lived with the image of having a lot of potential but not really taking advantage of all the wonderful resources we had,” said Alexandre Gama, president and chief creative officer of Neogama/BBH, the Sao Paulo office of Johnnie Walker’s global agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. “[People used to say] Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be. We don’t accept that any more.”

In the spot, which broke Friday evening on Facebookand on Brazilian TV on Sunday, the earth cracks and boulders fly as Rio residents watch a giant arise from the famous rock formation. He carefully sets down the cable car that runs along Sugar Loaf Mountain and stands tall. As he takes his first steps, the words “The giant is no longer asleep” appear in Portuguese, before the campaign’s familiar “Keep Walking” global tagline, tweaked to read “Keep Walking, Brazil.”

Mr. Gama said the campaign came about after David Gates, global category director for Diageo’s whiskey brands, visited Brazil early last year and wanted to meet Mr. Gama. During their meeting in the hotel lobby, Mr. Gates, who was previously Diageo Asia’s marketing director, said he felt the kind of momentum was happening in Brazil that he had witnessed earlier in China. He said that opened the possibility to create a campaign that would tap into this change in a very Brazilian way. Diageo is also experiencing Brazil’s momentum first hand, as Johnnie Walker’s fastest-growing market with a 30% annual increase in sales volume.

On his way to Rio’s downtown airport one day to catch the shuttle back to Sao Paulo after a client meeting, Mr. Gama glimpsed Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the idea was born. He said it was important that the message about the sleeping giant awakening was delivered by a non-Brazilian entity like an international brand, so the tagline “Keep Walking, Brazil” spelled the country’s name with a ‘z’ rather than using the Portuguese spelling, Brasil.

Mr. Gama said the spot had more than 187,000 views on YouTube by Sunday night. He helped the spot go viral by sending it to his friend Luciano Huck, a popular Brazilian TV host who has more than three million Twitter followers and tweeted about the spot. The agency also bought a full-page ad in the form of a false cover run by one of Sao Paulo’s leading daily newspapers, Folha de Sao Paulo, with “Sugar Loaf Mountain was part of a giant” as the lead story.

The complex production employed 420 people.

“The challenge was how to make someone covered by birds, trees and rocks look powerful,” he said. “That was the biggest problem.”

The spot, directed by Gorgeous with post-production and composition of the giant by The Mill, required special software to be written enabling the trees to react to the movements of a giant more than a mile high. [ Source : AdAge ]

Jose Padilha on the ‘Robocop’ Remake and ‘Elite Squad 2

The hot “new” director talks about his take on Robocop, its social commentary and the future of the Brazilian film industry

Brazilian director Jose Padilha’s smash sequel Elite Squad: The Enemy Within played at Fantastic Fest. The cop drama expands on Padilha’s themes of corruption in Rio. Padilha’s coming to Hollywood to direct another cop movie, the remake of RobocopElite Squad: The Enemy Within opens November 11 in New York and November 18 in Los Angeles for a platform release, and Padilha is already prepping Robocop.

 

CraveOnline | By Fred Topel : As an American action movie fan, I’ve obviously seen a lot of movies about corruption. Is this the first time you’ve been able to explore that in your country?

Jose Padilha: I’ve done three movies about violence in Rio. I’ve done a documentary called Bus 174 which is about a street kid that hijacks a bus in Rio. I don’t know if you’ve seen that. Then I’ve done the first Elite Squad and now this is the third movie I do about sort of the same subject matter, that’s related to corruption. So I guess I am an old timer filmmaker that deals with corruption.

But I mean is it relatively new for the Brazilian film industry to address it?

Brazil has a peculiar kind of history in filmmaking because we were a dictatorship. That means we were run by generals until the ‘80s. It was a right wing dictatorship so most filmmakers, if not all, were Marxists in the same way where people who were controlled by the left wing dictatorship in Czechoslovakia were capitalists. You always oppose the regime. So filmmaking in Brazil was made from a Marxist perspective. It was full of metaphors to avoid censorship. We had censorship. We had to send our movies to generals, they would look at it and they would cut stuff out of the film. So everything was very difficult for regular people to grasp. It was all sort of like an inside joke between filmmakers that understood some sort of metaphor that would get through the censorship. But Brazilian movies are changing now. Because there’s no more censorship, we don’t have a dictatorship, we can vote so we’ve been able to say things directly. I think this started in a big way with City of God, which is a social commentary on violence by drug dealers and it’s not metaphorical at all. It’s a film that you go, it has action and so on. Myself and other filmmakers now are doing movies like this so I would say it started like 10 years ago. So you’re right, there’s a difference in Brazilian filmmaking now.

What is your philosophy on shooting action?

Well, most people don’t realize a lot of the way you shoot action is defined by the schedule. You can’t miss a day because it’s very expensive. There are a lot of things that have to do with the budget and my movies don’t have an American budget. They have a small budget so I have to do things fast. My philosophy is to go for it, to try to get the risky shots, to try to get the shot that you may not get in one day because it’s worth it. So I like my connecting shots, which is let’s say I’m shooting a scene of a helicopter with the protagonist overseeing the invasion of his land. I want to have the same shots, the face of the guy inside the helicopter, he’s looking down at something, and the camera goes and sees just the moment where a bomb explodes in his lap. In order to get that shot, you have to time the camera, the helicopter, the camera has to go to the right place, the explosion has to set off. It’s hard. It’s much easier to shoot in separation. You have the face, you’ve got the helicopter. I try to go for the connecting shot because I think it brings action to life. It also gives you a better sense of geography which I think is important in action scenes. So that’s my philosophy. Go for the connecting shot and run the risk of not making it through the day. Read more