It has been too long since I have visited Espasso, the Tribeca-based gallery which specializes in modern and contemporary Brazilian furniture and design. Too long I say because last night, I made my way downtown for the occasion of the opening of its wonderful exhibition of new work by Brazilian designer Claudia Moreira Salles, and I realized that I should visit more regularly. Salles, one of the ambitious and talented designers represented by the gallery, presents elegant and chic work, including furniture, lamps, and boxes, made in native Brazilian woods. Ever since PIASA’s auction of Brazilian design in the past spring, which highlighted contemporary design in the context of Brazilian modern design, this territory has become the talk of the international design circles. Salles’ lamps manifest a perfect merge of Western Modernist principles with Brazilian identity, demonstrating that this marriage is still what defines Brazilian design today, as it did when modern design was first born in Brazil in the postwar years. The lamps, which I adored, are so architectural and precise that they look like miniature illuminated buildings, as jewels that are inserted within an exotic architectural fabric, somewhere in a faraway land in a fairytale. The lamps are miraculously crafted, the proportions are terrific, the compositions are fresh, and the way the various metals merge with the wood is intriguing and elegant.
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