Born in Rio de Janeiro into a family of prominent Brazilian artists and intellectuals, Architect / Designer Sergio Rodrigues (1927-2014) is considered one of the most important influential Brazilian designers. As a contemporary of modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer, with whom he also worked, he pioneered Brazilian industrial design, making his work known worldwide. With Bauhaus principles in mind he created pieces of furniture from a strictly Brazilian context. Rodrigues’ materials of choice were rich tropical woods- jacaranda, peroba and imbuia, along with leather and rattan, combining these luxe raw materials to create designs celebrating the culture of his birth.
After graduating in 1952 from the Faculdade Nacional de Arquitectura, Sergio Rodrigues opened the first modern art and furniture store in Curitiba, Brazil. Shortly thereafter in 1955, he founded Oca, which he referred to as ‘a laboratory for Brazilian furniture and handicrafts’ and became one of the most critical components in the evolution of furniture in Brazil. His furniture pieces were utilized in a large scale throughout the construction of Brazil’s capital Brasilia. Rodrigues designed many pieces of furniture, hotels, residences and prefabricated dwelling systems. His work represents the Brazilian spirit and a relaxed attitude – comfortable, sensual and humorous, yet smart and sophisticated. His pieces are highly sought after today in the auction circuit and with collectors.
The “Kilin” chair, designed in 1973 consists of a solid tauari wood frame with a leather back and seat. Known for its comfort, as one sits suspended in air. Available in several colors of leather, the chair can be easily disassembled for easy transport.
One of Rodrigues’ most well-known pieces, the “Mole” (soft in Portuguese) chair, designed in 1961, this chair sparked an international design trend that favored comfort and a new attention to scale. The “Mole” is an inviting easy chair, with a floppy overstuffed leather cushion that offers comfort reminiscent of a hammock. The piece was awarded first prize at the IV Furniture Biennale in Italy.
A rare playful lounge chair the “Chifruda” armchair is upholstered in a rich natural leather with the structure constructed in peroba wood, c. 1962.
Rodrigues’ “Voltaire” armchair is his interpretation of the classic Bergére chair. The upholstered portion of the chair seemingly floats over its geometric frame. This piece has recently been reissued, partly due to Phillippe Stark’s inclusion in his Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro project, c. 1965.
The “Beto” lounge chair exhibits slender lines and sleek geometry, designed in 1958, it utilizes the materials available at the time. Common in many of Rodrigues’ pieces, the “Beto” includes functional and beautifully shaped wooden armrest and was part of the original interiors of the buildings of Brasilia.
Rodrigues’ “Gio” armchair is known as a “temple for relaxation.” The upholstered chair in leather and fabric sits above a freijó wood frame. A tribute to the Italian architect, Gio Ponti, also the editor of Domus, after he selected and published a selection of furniture pieces designed by Sergio Rodrigues in the well-respected Italian magazine, c.1958.