Go south of the border
Be amazed by what we can learn from Brazilian design
Start exploring Brazilian design and a few things begin to look familiar. Abundant sunshine, lush landscapes and natural materials on tap and you could be describing Australia.
Which is why Bold And Bright: Chic And Exuberant Interior Inspiration from Brazil is worth a second look.
From the extensive use of stone, timber and concrete to a joyous appreciation of colour and pattern, the design ideas in the homes showcased could easily be applied here.
Houses range from simple beach shacks to spacious forest retreats but the challenges — from managing heat to living sustainably with limited resources — are very recognisable.
Here, author Maira Teixeira shares her love of her native design legacy.
Is there a Brazilian style?
Brazil is a tropical country with abundant vegetation. I believe this sets the tone of our way of living, you can always find integration with external areas, in a barbecue area of a garden or an apartment with gourmet balcony or even we find a place at the sidewalk to get together. In terms of materials, I think that the modernism in the 50s had a remarkable role in bringing to the world our interpretation of concrete. In the book I tried to show that we have many other materials such as wood, stone, brick and iron besides concrete.
How do Brazilians like to live? Is there a common thread in the way people like to dine or relax ?
We are a very family-oriented culture, a very Latin American quality. It is common for all members of the family to live together or nearby in adulthood. And traditionally most of us have a barbecue as an excuse to get together and then relax in a hammock afterwards. I think almost all Brazilians are fans of having a hammock at home.
Does Brazil have anything in common with Australian design?
I think we have in common the issue of sustainable architecture. And the work done here in Brazil is still a fairly high level of craftsmanship. Both Australians and Brazilians like to go out, but in Australia this is made easy at your public parks and beaches. Here in Brazil we have parks and beaches too but I think we have much more private relationship with the spaces bringing people into the house and not out, perhaps a reflection of the violence or that we were not as educated to use the public areas as I witnessed on the Gold Coast.
Why is colour and pattern so prominent in Brazilian homes?
I believe that the mix of colours and materials we use express our joy of life. We have a lot of flaws but we are definitely happy people, and, in a way, this can be expressed in the colours on the interior design.
Brazilian architects enjoy a great reputation worldwide. Do you have a favourite architect?
Through my book Bold And Bright, I interviewed architects and gained a new insight into their work. I admire when, in addition to building a beautiful house, there is an environmental consideration both in the use and choice of materials and how that construction will impact the space where it will be placed. I gained an appreciation of Daniel Fromer, his project in Santo André beach (pictured on the book cover) is wonderful in all senses. Besides the funtionality of the house — it was built on the ground in a way that avoided any trees having to be cut down — the wood was chosen as a main material because it is what the local tradesmen use in their work. There is no lighting in front of the beach so the natural rhythm for the nesting sea turtle can continue without interruption. I also have to say that a visit to the capital of my country, Brasilia, is a breathtaking experience and to walk around Oscar Niemeyer’s projects and see his curves and lines is a must.
November 19, 2016