Rodrigo Almeida is a Brazilian designer based in São Paulo. This year his work is drawing a lot of attention, with two of his chairs being shown at Milan's Brera Design District and then purchased by CNAP (Centre National des Arts Plastiques) - the arm of the French Culture Ministry in charge of picking the best of current art and creation for the French public art collection.
Almeida's design is very eloquent. "It is important the object communicates itself, is part of its time, that it represents its culture", he says. Loud and clear. One quick glance at his web site and that's exactly what we see: a design that conveys multiculturalism and fusion, and communication between materials, time and culture. The colorful elements of industry and craftsmanship, popular and contemporary cultures, are stirred in the melting pot of Brazilian culture.
His structures are often hybrid, multifunctional, multi-layered, such as in the quite unbelievable Ripa chair (2009). The designer says: "The expression of the materials is what interests me the most, they don't need be precious or exotic", so he searches for them in unusual places, such as carnival shops. Leather-looking plastics, fabric of various sorts, rope, wood and leather belts are sometimes used in unexpected ways, surprising the first impression of the user. As Almeida says "This miscegenation [or interbreeding] goes further and embodies the object function, creating an hybrid between action and thinking, object and user".
Check out his distilled vision of Japanese culture in the Yamamoto chair (2010) and the Noguchi shelf (2010), both homages to the influential Japanese designers and to the Japanese heritage of São Paulo. And don't miss the coffee tables: a favorite, the pared-down Toquinho (2009).