The Elegant Modern Design of Sergio Rodrigues

On 16 July 2021, by Caroline Legrand

Sergio Rodrigues (1927-1914) was a pioneer and leader of the Brazilian modernist school that holds so much appeal today.

Sergio Rodrigues (1927-2014), "Banco Mucki" bench with slatted seat, model created in 1958, published by OCA in the early 1960s, 40 x 250 x 70 cm/15.7 x 98.4 x 27.6 in.
Estimate: €6,000/10,000

Alongside José Zanine Caldas, Jorge Zalszupin and the Campana brothers, Sergio Rodrigues proudly flew the Brazilian flag on the international design scene. And all of them were largely influenced by the slender curves and innovative materials of the architect Oscar Niemeyer, himself inspired by the members of the Bauhaus, including Walter Gropius, and the modernists Mies Van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. Rodrigues began his career as an interior designer, whose projects included the Brazilian Embassy in Rome and the National Theater in Brasilia.

One point in common between his country's designers was the fondness for natural materials, especially wood, as seen in this large bench with slats in rosewood, a common species in America, particularly Brazil. The many chairs created by Sergio Rodrigues during his 60-year career stand out not only for their elegant lines, but also the use of dark tropical wood, like the iconic Mole and Diz chairs. In an intelligent synthesis of modernism and Brazilian tradition, in 1955 Rodrigues founded his own company in Ipanema, OCA ("hut" in Brazil's indigenous language), to edit his designer furniture and objects: over 1200 creations. In 1961, his Mole armchair won first prize in the international furniture competition in Cantu, and soon afterward joined the MoMA permanent collections in New York.

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