Brazil occupies a special place in the history of modernism. Brasília, the federal capital of the country, perhaps best exemplifies modernist principles of urban planning. And influential figures like Lino Bo Bardi and Oscar Niemeyer designed some of the most iconic buildings of the era, introducing organic forms and regional influences into the typically-spare vocabulary of the International Style.
If modernism – or its aesthetic – largely faded from popularity during the second half of the 20th century in many parts of the world, in Brazil, its legacy still persists today. Or at least that’s the case for designers like Jader Almeida, whose furniture both recalls and furthers the aesthetics of Brazilian modernism.
Originally trained as an architect, Almeida primarily works as a product designer today – although he maintains an interest in returning to the profession. His formally-elegant and minimal designs speak to midcentury aesthetics, but involve contemporary manufacturing and design processes.
I exchanged a few emails with Almeida to learn a bit about his background and current work.
Where did you study architecture?
I studied in Santa Catarina, Southern Brazil. My degree was very rich in information. In that period I worked primarily as a product designer because of some technical courses, work experiences and trips.
“I chose architecture for the range of possibilities that the profession offers.”
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue architecture?
I often say since I was a kid. I always wanted to do, study or work with something that was related to projects, design, creation, etc. It was always fascinating to me.
As a teen, I went to a technical school, training professionals. There I could understand how things worked in practice. This immersion led me naturally to the choice of my degree. I chose architecture for the range of possibilities that the profession offers – of course, my fascination with architecture also helped with the decision.
When did you decide to stop pursuing architecture? Why?
Actually, I never stopped. Architecture can be classified by different scales and performances. At this time, my practice in architecture is focused on commercial interior architecture.
Describe your current profession.
I divide my time between product design (furniture, lighting, small accessories, faucets, etc.), interior design for stores, and selling points and commercial strategies. I have an intense travel routine, whether for research or visiting clients.
What skills did you gain from architecture school, or working in the architecture industry, that have contributed to your success in your current career?
I learned early on that the entire project is part of a single principle. What changes is the scale: it could be [anything from] a pen to a city. I learned that when there is a consistent basis any design succeeds. So, that was a good lesson learned and it turned into a skill.
Do you have an interest in returning to architecture?
Want to see more elegant furniture designs? Check out the rest of Archinect’s special February theme, Furniture.
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