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.

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

Brazilian designer Sergio Rodrigues shop-in-shop at Espasso, New York

Pictured here is the ‘Vronka’ armchair, 1962


A new line of Rodrigues re-editions previously only available in Brazil are now also on offer at Espasso. The Poltorna Mole, 1957, seen here in the foreground, frames the Luminária Sérgio Augusto, 1965; Banco Mocho, 1954; Poltrona Vronka, 1962; and Poltrona Beto, 1958

[ See more at Wallpaper Magazine / November 2011 ]

Espasso New York

Specialized in modern and contemporary Brazilian furniture

38 N. Moore Street
New York, NY 10013

Phone | 212.219.0017

Hours | Mon – Fri: 10am – 6pm  . Sat: 12 – 6pm . Sun: closed

Spin that magazine, Mr. DJ!

Nice work by the Sao Paulo based ad agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi. Talking about the world’s most innovative magazine ads, here’s another interesting one—an audio print ad for Brazil’s Skol Sensation music festival, wrapped around the spine ofPlayboy magazine. A mini-chip was inserted in the ad, allowing users to listen to an audio message whispered by a young woman, says Adverblog.

Brazilian Waves in Global Music

When Carmen Miranda first set foot in New York City for her Broadway debut in 1939, Americans experienced love-at-first-sight with Brazilian culture. The profound fascination of Americans with Samba, Bossa Nova, Brazilian-Jazz and Brazilectro has been the subject of many compilations, but now for the first time, the story is being told in detail by its main players in the documentary “Beyond Ipanema – America’s Love Affair with Brazilian Music”.

Featuring interviews, new performances and classic archival footage, the film will revisit milestones such as Carmen Miranda’s Hollywood heyday, the obsession with the Girl from Ipanema, the timeless Bossa Nova recordings by Frank Sinatra, the commercial success of Sergio Mendes, Caetano Veloso’s acclaimed American performances, the rediscovery of Tropicália and Os Mutantes by college kids, the current seduction of Bebel Gilberto, and much more. The history of America’s love affair with Brazilian music, in the words of musicians, producers, and journalists. From Bossa Nova to Favela Funk, from Carmen Miranda to Bebel Gilberto, Gilberto, the story of music that changed the world is about to be told by the ones that lived it. ‘Beyond Ipanema: Brazilian Waves in Global Music’ is a Guto Barra and Becó Dranoff film, Written and produced by Guto Barra and Becó Dranoff. Directed by Guto Barra.


Rio – The Movie

From the creators of Ice Age, Rio is an upcoming 3-D animated film from 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. It is directed by Carlos Saldanha – the Brazilian director of animated films, and written by Don Rhymer. The characters are voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Rodrigo Santoro, Kate del Castillo and Bernardo de Paula. The film is expected for release on April 8, 2011. Click here to go to the official Rio – The Movie website

Brazil is calling you