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

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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 Brakes

Presented by Factory 25

Set against the volatile and dangerous world of the favelas, Rio Breaks tells the story of two surf-obsessed friends, 13-year-old Fabio and 12-year-old Naamã. The pair live in Rio de Janeiro’s Favela do Pavão, which is controlled by one of the city’s most dangerous drug gangs. However, their attention is focused on the waves of Arpoador Beach and on a coming surfing event that may help them become professionals and escape the world of gangs. Nominated for Best Documentary at the Hawaii International Film Festival and winner of the Special Jury Mention at the San Sebastian Surfilm Festibal, this Sundance Channel co-production by Director Justin Mitchell (Death Cab for Cutie: Drive Well, Sleep Carefully,Jenny Lewis: Welcome to Van Nuys, Ted Leo: Dirty Old TownSongs for Cassavetes) and Writer Vince Medeiros (Surfing Huck Magazine) is an inspired and hugely original documentary that takes the surf film genre into never-before-seen territory. Festivals: Festival do Rio, Hawaii International Film Festval, WaveRiders Film Festival, The London International Documentary Festival

Date & Time : Aug 6, 2010 @ 7:30pm   |   Location: 92Y|Tribeca, 200 Hudson St  Directions   |   Venue : 92Y|Tribeca Screening Room   |   Code : T-MM5FA33-01   |   Price : $12.00   |   Catalog # FTF-014   |   Release date : August 31, 2010   |   Director : Justin Mitchell   |   Length : 85 min   |   2009


Brazilian Re-creation

Favela Painting

Thanks to Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn, one of Rio’s bleakest neighborhoods now has a permanent rainbow. As part of their project “O Morro” (which literally translated means “the hill” but really signifies the presence of “the slum”), the Dutch artists have enlisted the community to transform the facades of 34 houses (about 7,000 square meters!) into a colorful community art project. Local residents who picked up a brush received a small salary (the painting took about a month) and an education in the production process. Koolhaas and Urhahn, who have been painting favelas for the past two years as part of a greater initiative to transform the hillside slums into places that residents are proud to live in, plan to return to Brazil to finish painting the entire hill. Click here to read more

Born In Brazil – Nascida No Brasil

For a few magical weeks, Wallpaper* shifted operational HQ to Brazil. We had a single aim: to produce as true a portrait as possible of an extraordinary country at an extraordinary moment of transition. We saw, shot, talked, walked, taxied, ate, drank, danced, and now our Born in Brazil issue has finally hit the shelves.

But the pace of change in Brazil is too great to be pinned down in a single issue. Over the coming weeks, Wallpaper.com will be keeping track by adding more news, videos, interviews and insights, to give you as wide a view as possible of the most exciting country on earth. Keep checking back to discover more.

To read more click here | In English and In Portuguese

The World’s Happiest City : Rio de Janeiro

Ever since Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appeared in the 1933 film Flying Down to Rio, the world has been fascinated withRio de Janeiro. Popular perception of the city is infused with images of starry-eyed youngsters dancing into the dusk, backed by imposing mountains and dark sea.

That view has propelled Rio to the top of our list of the world’s happiest cities. Famous for its annual Carnaval festival (starting Feb. 13 next year), the second-largest metropolis inSouth America finished first among 50 cities in a recent survey conducted by policy advisor Simon Anholt and market researcher GfK Custom Research North America.

“Brazil is associated with all these qualities of good humor and good living and Carnaval,” says Anholt. “Carnaval is very important–it’s the classic image that people have of Rio, and it’s an image of happiness.”

In Pictures: World’s Happiest Cities

Next on the list is the top city from Down Under: Sydney, Australia. Known for balmy weather, friendly locals and an iconic opera house, Sydney fared well in Anholt’s survey because of its association with a popular brand–Australia.

“It’s where everybody would like to go,” he says. “Everybody thinks they know Australia because they’ve seen Crocodile Dundee. There’s this image of this nation of people who basically sit around having barbecues.”

Rounding out the top five are third-rankedBarcelona, Spain, which Anholt calls “the classic Mediterranean city”; fourth-ranked Amsterdam, Netherlands, because Anholt’s young respondents “know you can smoke dope in the bars”; and Melbourne, Australia, which makes the list simply because it’s in Australia.

“People know it’s in Australia, and that it’s full of Australians,” says Anholt. “Therefore, it must be fun.”

Behind the Numbers
The data Anholt provided for our list is part of the 2009 Anholt-GfK Roper City Brands Index, released in June. The research was compiled through online interviews with 10,000 respondents in 20 countries.

Happiness is difficult to quantify, and Anholt acknowledges that his data is less an indicator of where local populations are happiest than a reflection of respondents’ thinking about where they could imagine themselves happy.

“This is a survey of perception, not a survey of reality,” he says. “People write me all the time and say ‘that’s not true.’ It probably isn’t true, but it’s what people think. The gap between perception and reality is what interests city governments.”

The French historian Fernand Braudel wrote that ” Happiness, whether in business or private life, leaves very little trace in history.” (More quotes on happiness.) But a perception of happiness leaves a strong trace on the balance sheets of cities that depend on conventions, tourism and an influx of talent.

The Pursuit of Happiness
Anholt notes that the results of his survey reflect the longstanding reputation of Mediterranean and Latin American cities as non-stop party locales.

“It’s pretty much the expected bunch,” says Anholt. “Though I’m a little surprised about Spain outdoing Italy. It’s interesting that the Spanish are perceived as being happier than the Italians–I find the Spanish rather gloomy.”

Still, Barcelona–Spain’s highest-ranked city–has plenty of supporters.

“The beauty of the city and its environs, along with affordable housing and business opportunities, is the fantastic lifestyle,” says Michelle Finkelstein, a vice president at travel agency Our Personal Guest. “There’s not the stress of getting a child into the best preschool–the public ones are good and close by. And they have the top soccer team and some of the best weather in Europe.”

Other places in the world that lack the metropolitan flair of the cities on this list are often identified with the notion of happiness. “Anyone lucky enough to visit the magical Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan would know that there is no competition: There can be no happier place,” says Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. “This small Buddhist nation of incredibly stunning beauty follows a unique guiding philosophy of GNH–Gross National Happiness. You can see it in their open faces–they smile from the heart. Barcelona has nothing on them.”

Global rivalries notwithstanding, Anholt notes that his findings more or less support historical trends, with one notable exception.

“The cities on this list would probably be the same if I’d been running this survey in 1890, aside from Sydney and Melbourne,” he says. “Australia is kind of a branding miracle.”

Not bad for a former penal colony.

In Pictures: World’s Happiest Cities