From April 7 through 10, São Paulo will turn into a melting pot of art aficionados, big-name artists, and deep-pocketed collectors. SP-Arte, a cultural celebration as much as a contemporary art fair continues to be one of the hottest events in town year after year, thanks to renowned galleries such as Michael Werner, David Zwirner, and Fortes Vilaça, that showcase more than 2,000 artists from Brazil and around the world.
Located in the futuristic Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion (designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Oscar Niemeyer), fair-goers will be able to explore large-scale installations, performances, and a hottest new section devoted entirely to Brazil’s vibrant design history.
This newest section highlights furniture, lighting, and antiques ranging from the colonial to the contemporary. Early pieces dating from the 19th century can be characterized by their skillful woodwork, including traditional rosewood and straw furniture that will also be on display.
The history of Brazilian design is particularly connected to wood, which remains an integral material to contemporary designs, but today it is utilized with a preservationist ethos that reflects concerns about the country’s dwindling natural resources.
No conversation about design in Brazil would be complete without including iconic modernists such as Oscar Niemeyer, Joaquim Tenreiro, and Sergio Rodrigues, whose pieces garnered international attention for their clean lines and their trademark woodwork. Oftentimes, the furniture was produced on a much smaller scale than American or European designers of the same period (some pieces are one-of-a-kind), meaning that such pieces are hard to find decades later. SP-Arte will feature rare work by these masters, as well as re-editions of their designs.
If you are not visiting SP-Arte this year, check out our photo gallery, imagine yourself lying down on a Niemeyer modernist bench and start planning your trip to the fair next year!