Forma at R & Company
The recent revival of mid-twentieth-century modern furniture has made designers such as Florence Knoll, Eero Saarinen, and Ray and Charles Eames household names once again. Mid-century Brazilian design, however, hasn’t quite received the same attention as its American and European contemporaries. But thanks to an expanding global market, coupled with a growing concern for the erosion of precious resources (especially coveted hardwoods), Brazilian design is finally getting its due. And in no small part to the country’s unique take on modernism—an aesthetic that marries the International Style with its own vernacular techniques and materials.
Helping to shepherd in this new trend is its chief proponent and avid collector Zesty Meyers, a principal in the Tribeca gallery R & Company. Meyers has curated the exhibition, Forma: Brazil Furniture Designs by Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler, showcasing forty works from the 1950s and 1960s produced by Brazil’s foremost design firm. Founded by émigrés Carlo Hauner (Italy) and Martin Eisler (Austria) in Sâo Paolo, Forma transformed the industry’s market by customizing production, making high-end atelier-style pieces accessible to a larger audience.
Craftsmanship is the hallmark of Eisler and Hauner’s designs, which are particularly notable for their strong lines and use of rich local materials, such as hardwoods, iron, and occasionally leather. The exhibition’s recreation of living spaces with immersive displays of seating, tables, and beds highlights how function and form seamlessly come together without sacrificing aesthetic appeal.
Standouts in the show include two lounge chairs with asymmetrical seats and iron frames. Inspired by the technology of the auto industry, Eisler constructed round-shaped seats in the form of a car bumper. Also on display are the iconic low-slung, curved Rib chairs with wide rosewood slats that conform perfectly to the body, available with removable cushions if desired.
Forma is on view at R & Company through October 26.