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Lina Bo Bardi

Architect Lina Bo Bardi, born Achillina Bo in Rome in 1914, made an indelible mark on mid-century Brazilian architecture and design after emigrating there following the destruction of her office in Milan during World War II.

The architect with her side chair designs, year unknown. Photo courtesy Espasso.

Before starting her own firm in Milan, she had worked with Gio Ponti, who later remarked that she was “earning a place in modern architecture.” Bo Bardi and her husband, Italian art dealer and curator Pietro Maria Bardi, were members of the Communist party and found a safe haven in Brazil, which Bo Bardi called “an unimaginable country, where everything was possible.” The couple was integral in the establishment of the São Paolo Museum of Art (1968), which Bo Bardi designed with four bright-red exterior columns supporting the concrete-and-glass building suspended aboveground. Bo Bardi, who died in 1992, also designed the couple’s residence, a modern villa above São Paulo called the Glass House, now part of the Lina Bo and P.M. Bardi Institute. Though still somewhat overlooked by the modern design cognoscenti, Bo Bardi is revered by many modernists for both her architecture and bold furniture designs.

To see images of her work, please visit the slideshow.

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