Linbrasil presented a selection of iconic and modernist furniture of the versatile Brazilian architect and designer Sergio Rodrigues (1927-2014), internationally recognized as the first to create, in the 50s, a unique identity for Brazilian design.
It is estimated that during his long career he created more than 1,200 furniture projects, with some single pieces for specific architecture client projects.
His works are essentially made of solid wood, leather and straw, thereby establishing a distinctive identity, based on perfect fittings and sensual curves, permeating his line of furniture with an unconventional spirit and an extreme comfort.
Sergio Rodrigues had the privilege to begin his professional career during the golden age of Brazilian modernist architecture and to be familiar with Oscar Niemeyer, Lúcio Costa and Sergio Bernardes.
He graduated as an architect in 1951, by the “Faculdade Nacional de Arquitetura” (National School of Architecture) in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil and he accompanied the renovation of urban aesthetics, highlighted by the construction of Brasilia.
He realized that the interior spaces of modern architecture demanded a furniture different from the far-fetched colonial style, and furthermore, wanted to evade the standing stick legs or “modern Bauhaus” that prevailed at the time.
Driven by his intuitive trait and by the love for wood, he began creating furniture adapted to the Brazilian climate and culture, and building up an identity of his own in furniture pieces, essentially based upon the use of rosewood, straw and leather.
In 1957, commissioned by fashion photographer Otto Stupakoff, who wanted for his studio, a sofa where he could plummet like a sultan, he created the sofa “Mole”, with thick spindle-shaped legs, adjustable leather straps and a large upholstered cushion on top.
The piece of furniture anticipated the trend of bulky seats, emblematic of the 60s, such as the “Sacco”, 1969.
In 1961, he received the first prize in the “IV Concorso International Del Mobile” in Cantu, Italy.
The jury’s opinion stated: “The only model with current features, despite the structure with conventional treatment, not influenced by fad and absolutely representative of the region of origin.”
The armchair “Mole” was produced and exported to several countries by the Isa Industry, of Bergamo, Italy, with the name of “Sheriff”.
According to historian and critic Adelia Borges, ….
“Sergio Rodrigues over the years has been consistent with his creation, he has spent decades without faltering under the difficulties faced when Brazilian design was not yet valued. He knew how to pursue his main objective: the gestation of modern Brazilian furniture, furthering the language and refining the trait“.
In six decades of activity he created more than 1,200 pieces, many unique, made by hand, especially for his architectural projects.
In 2002, he summarized his genius with the “Diz“armchair, extremely comfortable, made of wood and with a simplicity achieved only by the master
About Sergio Rodrigues
Born in Rio de Janiero, 1927
Died in Rio de Janiero, 2014
Sergio Rodrigues was one of the foremost exponents of modern furniture in the world, and one of the last to leave us.
Born in 1927 in Rio de Janeiro, he died in the same city in 2014, the year he celebrated six decades of continuous activity in furniture design having developed more than 1,200 projects.
He played a most significant role in architecture – the discipline in which he graduated in 1952 – and was also a remarkable draftsman.
Sergio Rodrigues, from the very beginning, followed his own path, which turned the expression of Brazilian identity into a deliberate quest.
He drew from the colonial tradition and Iberian heritage to forge pieces that met the demands of modernist architecture, however with a strong Brazilian accent.
In this sense he was a forerunner, because at that time the functionalist and international languages prevailed.
In 1955, he founded the Oca, a name that highlights an intention: to revive the spirit of simplicity of the indigenous abode, integrating past and present in Brazilian material culture.
Through this company, he supplied a significant part of the furniture for the interiors of the buildings of the then forthcoming federal capital, Brasília.
In Rio de Janeiro, he began to meet the middle class yearning for objects that conveyed the effervescent spirit of a time when everything was “new”, from Bossa Nova music to New Cinema.
In addition to a factory, Oca also had an interior architecture studio, ambience, set design and decoration components together with an art gallery and an exhibition of his own furniture.
From the outset the chairs of Sergio Rodrigues broke away from the elegant and well behaved ways of sitting, foreseeing the demand for informality that would come to dominate the interiors of the homes of the young intellectualized middle class in the sixties.
His most famous creation, the Mole armchair, of 1957 mirrors this radicalism. Robust, it has a framework of turned solid wood, leather straps and upholstered cushions.
The armchair invites relaxation and coziness, offering comfort reminiscent of a hammock, the most traditional item of the Brazilian home.
“In the Mole armchair one does not sit, one lounges” wrote journalist Sergio Augusto.
In a book from 1975, the critic and designer Clement Meadmore considered it “one of the 30 most important seats of the 20th century.”
This armchair was awarded first prize at the International Furniture Competition in Cantu, Italy in 1961, where it was called Sheriff by the company Isa, Bergamo, Italy, that from then on produced and exported it to many countries.
Other key works of his career are the Mocho stool, 1954, based on the stool for milking cows; the armchair Kilin, 1973, which also recalls the hammock; and the armchair Diz, 2002, a project of his full maturity, only in wood, which grants the utmost comfort to the user.
Sergio Rodrigues left Oca in 1968 and after that started to work in his office developing furniture lines, architecture design and ambience of hotels, homes and offices, and prefabricated housing systems.
The production of his furniture was taken over in 2001 by the company LinBrasil.
Thereafter, his furniture achieved great penetration in the Brazilian and international markets.
Sergio has won numerous awards, including the Lapiz de Plata, Bienal de Arquitetura de Buenos Aires, in 1982 for his body of work; and the First Place at the 20th Award “Museu da Casa Brasileira”, Sao Paulo, in 2006, for his armchair Diz.
The Encyclopedia Delta Larousse presents him in an entry as “ the creator of the modern Brazilian furniture ”.
His work has been featured in several exhibitions, not only in Brazil but also in Italy, Spain and the United States.