We were saddened to hear of the death of Sergio Rodrigues, known as the father of Brazilian modernism, recognized both for his architecture and interior design. Rodrigues, who died yesterday at the age of 86, was renown for his furniture, often executed with humor and whimsy: His Mole chair and sofa is exaggeratedly fat with flaps of black leather; the Tonico chair and sofa includes an oversize, belted bolster; and his Aspas (Quotation Marks) chair is sometimes known as the Chifruda chair, which roughly translates to a woman whose husband tends toward cheating.
Rodrigues, who remained active in the design world his entire life, was especially prolific during the midcentury modern period, founding his design firm, Oca Industries in 1955, moving on in 1968 to concentrate on hotel and residential designs, including prefab housing. Having attended the School of Architecture in Brazil, he was aware of the fact that the architectural renaissance spawned by his close collaborator Oscar Niemeyer was unmatched when it came to furnishing the new buildings. “They used colonial-style furniture or imported pieces,” Rodrigues remembers. “Furniture was lacking the national identity achieved in architecture.” To follow, an overview of Rodrigues’s life's work in design, architecture and furniture spanning 60 years.