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Five Brazilian Design Classics

August 8th, 2009

1. THE FAVELA CHAIR

The Favela Chair

Despite its name – the “shantytown chair” – the Campana brothers‘ Favela Chair became a defining piece of Brazilian design with a price tag to match when it was launched in 2003. Reputedly made out of the same wood used to construct shacks in the ramshackle city districts, this design classic sells for just under $4,000.

2. THE HAVAIANA FLIP FLOP

havaiana-flip-flopInvented in 1962 the Havaiana, a rubber flip-flop, spent nearly 40 years as an unremarkable but commonplace component of the Brazilian wardrobe. Suddenly at the end of the 1990s the Havaiana took off as an international fashion accessory worn by top models across the globe such as Naomi Campbell. Havaiana’s international sales are said to be doubling each year. In Rio the lowly Havaiana costs around R$10 (£2). In Europe they have been known to fetch around £100.

3. OSCAR NIEMEYER’S CONGRESS BUILDING

OSCAR NIEMEYER'S CONGRESS BUILDINGErected at the end of the 1950s, Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer‘s Congresso Nacional, the Congress Building in Brazil’s capital Brasilia, remains his most celebrated work, often compared to two white flying saucers. Mixing the sweeping convex and concave lines for which he became famous, the building is one of the most recognisable symbols of Brazilian architecture.

4. THE DENTAL FLOSS BIKINI

bikini_sfwKnown in South America as fio dental or “dental floss”, the Brazilian bikini is also begrudgingly held up as a design classic, widely embraced on the country’s beaches. The dental floss bikini was not always a unanimity, however. In 1961 president Janio Quadros outlawed the tiny fashion item from Rio’s beaches. He lasted just seven months in power.

5. THE TUTTI FRUTTI HAT

THE TUTTI FRUTTI HATCarmen Miranda, Brazil’s most famous singing export, is to this day one of the defining fashion icons to emerge from Brazil. Born in Portugal, “the lady in the tutti-frutti hat”, as she became known, moved to the US in 1939 where her colourful, fruit-laden costumes became a seminal creation, referenced to this day by Brazilian designers.


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