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Where the Wild Things Are
Don Nichols | Photo: Brett Hufziger | November 14, 2013
Brazilian designers and manufacturers are leading the sustainability charge in the design industry. Three companies that share a compelling South Florida presence are setting especially good examples.
Home base: Caxias do Sul, Brazil
Claim to fame: This innovative firm produces furniture with an earthy midcentury modern style. “We use woods such as rattan and bamboo and lots of natural fibers,” says Luiz Silva, president of Saccaro USA, which draws from a wide talent pool. “We employ approximately 25 independent designers.”
Sustainable practices: Saccaro developed and uses the lyptus tree—a hybrid of two species of eucalyptus—in its furniture. The tree grows quickly and can be harvested within eight years of planting. “Sustainability is in our DNA. We have a social responsibility to use forests in a rational way to protect the environment,” Silva says. “We sometimes change woods because they don’t match our basic values and standards.”
What’s new: The limited-edition Mangue concept table was inspired by the mangroves, which are so vital to marine life. The legs, made of imbuia, suggest the mangroves’ deep root system and laser engraving on the jequitiba top depicts a crab’s footprints. “We’ll only make 70 pieces—the number of marine-life species that depend on the mangroves’ ecosystem,” Silva says.
What makes Brazilian design: “Brazilian interior design is warm, and while some may call it modernist, it is indeed eclectic enough to blend well into contemporary or more traditional decor.” saccaro-usa.com
Debora Aguiar Arquitetos
Home base: São Paulo, Brazil
Claim to fame: This highly respected design firm regularly handles interior design for luxury residential developments. “I value the environment and often work with rustic and natural materials, blending them in a sophisticated way,” says Debora Aguiar, the company’s eponymous founder and owner. “I like to mix materials such as leather, glass and steel, as well as incorporate signature design pieces and art.”
Sustainable practices: Aguiar uses products made from sustainable natural materials such as bamboo, and textured coatings made from banana fiber, PET bottles and cardboard, among other materials. “The fusion of sustainability with technology is the formula for success and is what enables me to employ creativity while keeping the environment in mind, without sacrificing comfort and sophistication,” she says.
What’s new: Aguiar is executing the interior design for the high-profile 1 Hotel & Homes in South Beach. “My love for nature matches perfectly with the inspiration for this new property, which is introducing a new brand and a new living concept centered on nature and bringing the outdoors in,” she says. “I’ve drawn much of my inspiration from the property’s beautiful beachfront location.”
What makes Brazilian design: “Flexibility and adaptability are Brazilian trademarks,” Aguiar says. “Natural materials and the exuberance of nature itself are easily transferred to the projects. At the same time, so much in the project can be used to convey Brazilian design—from handicrafts and works of art to the simplest cotton fabric.” deboraaguiar.com.br
Home base: São Paulo, Brazil
Claim to fame: The company is beloved for its high-end closets, kitchens and baths—and its attention to detail in product design. In an Ornare-designed closet, doors might be made of embossed leather, handles made of Swarovski crystal, drawers lined with suede, and pullout shelves covered in cowhide. “Closets must first be functional, yes, but we’re seeing them bigger and an expansion of the owner’s personality,” says Claudio Faria, the company’s U.S. director. “We’re so detail-oriented that a closet is a dream come true for our client, and it will last a lifetime.”
Sustainable practices: The company uses Forest Stewardship Council-certified woods and donates all scrap wood and leather to nongovernmental organizations that employ people in need of jobs and income. It then buys back the products they make—wallets, iPad cases, clipboards—to use as gifts of appreciation to clients and other VIPs. “Luxury living can exist side by side with sustainable design and practices,” Faria says.
What’s new: The Luxury Wall is designed to make that one wasted wall in every closet functional. “Instead of hiding their collectibles like sunglasses, watches, hats or jeans, clients use the wall to display them,” says Faria.
What makes Brazilian design: “It’s warmer, has more texture and is more organic than European design,” Faria says. “Our designs are clean and modern, but comfortable, too.” ornare.com