Espasso at Steven Alan

Espasso at Steven Alan

By Erika Heet
Beginning with an all-day kickoff party on Saturday, May 29, from 10 am to 7 pm, Steven Alan in East Hampton will feature an installation of handmade furniture and accessories by Brazilian artisans Carlos Motta and Etel Carmona curated by the Brazilian furniture gallery Espasso. Known for its blend of furniture, ceramics, jewelry, clothing, and site-specific accessories “designed for everyone,” Steven Alan, who has three stores in Los Angeles and six stores in New York (four in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and one in East Hampton), will offer the furnishings throughout the summer months.

After graduating with a degree in architecture in São Paulo in 1976, Carlos Motta moved to Santa Cruz, California, to work as a designer and cabinetmaker and attend classes in building techniques at Cabrillo College before moving to Finland to study and research molded and rolled wood. He has shown at numerous exhibitions, including Brazil Faz Design, the International Biennial of Design in Saint Etienne, France, and Object Brazil, 500 Years of Design, at Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo. Motta, a professor of Planning at FAAP University in São Paulo, will be present at the opening.

Etel Carmona is the head of Etel Marcenaria, a furniture manufactory in Brazil, where she employs traditional woodworking techniques (such as marquetry) with innovative finishing methods using gold dust, copper and varying textures. Carmona prefers working only with naturally fallen and sustainable woods. She has exhibited at the Expo 2000 Industrial Fair in Hanover, Germany, the Brazilian Furniture Exhibition in Milan, and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, among many others.

Both artists are represented by Espasso in the States, and because their pieces are handcrafted from sustainable and sometimes difficult-to-obtain reclaimed wood, lead times can be long, but likely worth the wait.

As with all his pieces, Carlos Motta crafts the Asturias line, which includes an armchair, sofa and rocking chair, out of reclaimed and demolition wood. Designed in 2001, the chair is meant for both indoor and outdoor use.

Motta named his Parati chaise after the historic Brazilian town, colonized by Portugal then imperialized by Brazil. The demo wood used in its construction renders each chaise slightly different.

Motta’s Caju, or "cashew" table is low-slung and meant to patina to an ashen hue over time.

Motta designed the blocky Caju side table with a square top, then began offering it with a round top. In the Espasso showroom, the square versions are multiplied and placed together to show the different wood grains.

Etel Carmona creates her Bojudo vase (which roughly translates to "rounded") from the trunks of fallen native Brazilian trees. In each vase, as in this cedar example, Carmona celebrates the natural cracks and grain of the wood, resulting in one-of-a-kind pieces.

The Governador is Carmona’s most rustic design, its edges almost completely left in their natural state. She deals with the woods’ sometimes intense cracking by hand-stitching a heavy jute thread across the gap to "seal" the cracks.

Carmona’s Paxiuba, or Brazilian palm, vase.

Carmona’s Marina bowl, which typically follows the grain of the wood as it emanates from the center, is also characterized by natural edges.

An array of Carmona designs, including the Fino tray and vases, the Governador bowl and the Shallow Fruit Bowl, all made from fallen Brazilian trees and some stitched with natural fiber.

Assorted Carmona vases, including the Paxiuba and Bojudo, and bowls, such as the Governador and Marina.


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