São Paulo, Brazil hosts the biggest home exhibition in Latin America, Casa Cor. Its annual exhibition ran from May to June 2015 and offered visitors 75 spaces designed by leading local architects and interior designers. Various rooms from the bedroom to the dining room and exteriors filled the chosen venue, the Jockey Club of São Paulo.
Three main trends were seen throughout. The first one, “Brasilidade,” or “Brazilian lifestyle,” encouraged designers to pursue different and less obvious ways to portray what might be called the Brazilian identity. The second is the idea of social spaces strongly influencing all areas of the home. Lastly, environmental sustainability was another important focus as many aspects of the exhibition portrayed wood finishes, plants that need very little water and LED lighting.
Taking ‘Trends’ up a Notch
These concepts were combined at times into a single piece of work. That is the case with the Marakatu bench and stool, made by designer Sérgio J. Matos. Achieving the Brazilian identity, the flower designs typically seen on the shirts of northeastern Brazilian Maracatu dancers cover Matos’ Marakatu set. Both bench and stool can be placed anywhere in the house, supporting the social space trend, and can be used not only as a seat but also a table if it’s covered with a glass top. The chair’s structure can be made of either carbon steel or aluminum and the frame is finished with polyester cords of various colors.
Matos also designed the Chita chair, which follows the same path. Made with carbon steel, it is covered with a polypropylene rope applied by the skilled hands of artisans from the Brazilian state of Paraíba, in the northeast. The final result is a unique product made with environmentally friendly materials, and it provides an important source of income for these communities.
Another example of “Brasilidade” combined with environmental sustainability is the armchair Nona by designer Jayme Bernardo. Produced in tauari wood, it has been on the market since 2014 and can be found at Finish, a Brazilian furniture store that has plenty of examples of this natural yet modern style. At Casa Cor São Paulo 2015, it was used in a room where the main idea was to combine the remarkably different lifestyles of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Even the most elaborate rooms during the exhibition seemed to have been conceived with the idea that restraint, discretion and simplicity are synonymous with true elegance. Two very interesting examples can be found in a room designed by architect Guilherme Torres, who made most of the displayed furniture himself. The yellow couch can be ordered in an L-shape or an extended format. The fabric is called Heavy Linen Honey and is taken from the so-called nordic collection of Nós Furniture, the design brand owned by Torres. The couch is upholstered by hand, which also gives the piece the ribbed effect we can observe. Also found in Torres’ space was a creative center table with one round leg that stands out among the other three square legs. It is made of varnished Macassar ebony, giving it a zebra-like effect.
Even the most elaborate rooms during the exhibition seemed to have been conceived with the idea that restraint, discretion and simplicity are synonymous with true elegance.”
Another unconventional but equally fun idea can be seen in the ZigZag shelving created by designer Henrique Steyer, which is made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF). The piece consists of individual components such as side panels, dividers, bases, shelves and backs, all of which can be assembled in many different ways, transforming the shelving into a unique piece. The shelving is finished with micro texture paint and has several color options. The outer structure is fixed using the Clamex system, so no joints can be seen.
At the fair, ZigZag appeared in a room called “The Boy’s Room,” where toys, portraits and other objects were stored. However, the shelf is not limited to children’s furniture and could be used in an adult room, living room or even office.
Inside Architect Murilo Weitz’s Room
Visitors were seen strolling from room to room, discovering new design concepts including balconies, stores, bars, restaurants and all areas of the house. Yet it is in the space conceived by interior designers Tulio Xenofonte and Fabio Basani, an elegant yet youthful wine cellar entitled “Wine Cellar of the Collector,” that a particular accessory captured mass attention. Murilo Weitz’s modular rugs could be seen in two places of the cellar and also on the stairs leading to another room. Weitz answered a few questions about his collection, the collaboration, the exhibition and his future plans.
ArchiExpo e-mag: How did this collection start?
Murilo Weitz: In 2014 I came back to Brazil knowing I had a passion for creation, but the kind of creation that focuses on a smaller scale than that of a full scale architectural project. I wanted to create the whole concept behind a piece, prepare technical drawings and develop the prototypes all by myself until I achieved the final objective. So I decided to create my own brand of home accessories. My first collection was that of the rugs, BR+Amante. That name is a deconstruction of the name of Italian Renaissance architect Donato di Angelo del Pasciuccio, also known as Bramante. He was one of the architects of St. Peter’s Basilica and is one of the conceptual references of my collection.
ArchiExpo e-mag: Tell us a bit more about your partnership with architects Tulio Xenofonte and Fabio Basani, who designed the room “Wine Cellar of the Collector,” in which your modular rugs are featured.
Murilo Weitz: I have a very strong affinity with their work. Also, while still studying I worked as an intern at Tulio’s office and learnt a lot from him. He has a very strong sense of style and a very specific identity that can be perceived through all his work, and that identity is very much based on detail. When I came back to São Paulo with my rug collection in mind, I presented my plans and ideas to them. Their suggestion of creating a partnership with me at Casa Cor São Paulo 2015 came a short while after this. As my collection is pretty much custom-made, the pieces displayed at the fair were made in accordance with the needs and characteristics of the specific spaces; that is how I came to choose the final shape, size and colors.
ArchiExpo e-mag: Having your designs displayed in a room at Casa Cor São Paulo 2015 is certainly a very important way to promote your work. What results are you achieving?
Murilo Weitz: The experience has been truly amazing. I’ve been going to the event daily, and being in contact with the staff has been such a pleasure! The care and concern they show for everyone involved in the fair (from beginners like me to the famous Brazilian designers who exhibit here extensively, both now and in the past) is amazing. Interacting with the public is also something that has been very rewarding. People always want to know about the stories behind the room that was created and how the ideas originated. And they pay a lot of attention to both the details of the furniture and accessories, as well as the overall finish of the room.
ArchiExpo e-mag: What are your future plans?
Murilo Weitz: I really didn’t expect all this success. Now I’m looking forward to participating in other events of this kind, having my work shown in more home exhibitions and getting to know more people in this field, too. I do have some ideas ready for forthcoming collections of home accessories. Most of them feature leather as their raw material. My father was trained as a chemical technician and then specialized as a tanner working with leather, so I grew up learning about it and knowing exactly what can and cannot be done with it.
Born in Leme, a small city in the São Paulo countryside, 26-year-old Murilo Weitz graduated in 2012 in Architecture and Urbanism at Mackenzie Presbyterian University, a first-rate institution in Brazil. He lived in London during 2013 and 2014, where he attended specialist courses at the London College of Fashion (LCL) and Central Saint Martins (CSM). His bovine leather rug collection became one of Casa Cor São Paulo 2015’s highlights in home accessories.