THE DESIGN OF THE SLUMS AND THE SUBURBS
By Guto Requena
June 20, 2013
In Brasil, design is still associated to luxurious, expensive and merely decorative items, in an idea that “design is for rich people”. In my TV show, I have often asked the interviewees to define design. One of the best answers I got was from Gean Carlo Latorraca, architect and technical director of the “Museu da Casa Brasileira”: Design is the solution of problems. I believe good design is made in a creative and innovative fashion, to support activities (eating, working, sleeping, getting dressed) in a functional and beautiful way, considering the least possible environmental effect, promoting, wherever possible, the local culture and production. Last week I visited the “Design da Periferia” (Design of the slums) expo, in the Brazilian Cultures Pavilion, at Ibirapuera park. I felt very emotional when I left, and I felt certain it was one of the best design expos I had been up to then. The expo brings, in a ‘non-romantic’ way (for the foreigners to admire), products made by common people solely to solve every day problems, with few resources, and using recycled goods such as solid residues and trash.
Objects, photographies and videos show the fundamental principles of design -to solve problems in a functional, pretty and sustainable way-, far from the established, the status quo, as described by curator Adélia Borges.
Take a look below, at Guto´s interview with Adelia on another exhibit: “In Praise of Diversity”, hosted by the Droog Hotel, in Amsterdam.
She searched for years, in slums and suburbs throughout Brazil the contents of the expo. Colorful carts of coffee vendors and ice-cream machines from Bahia, wooden benches from Amapa, barbecue grills made from tyre rims in Alagoas, night club folders from the suburbs of São Paulo and the typography of Amazonian boats make up part of this inspiring collection.
Above all, the expo talks about “Brasilidade” (Brazilianity, in a non obvious way), behavior, identity, improvisation, honest design and, as Adélia says, “the creative knowledge of the brazilian people”. These objects made outside of the academic and professional environment reveal that design is, much more than a product, a way of thinking; and that it is, closer each day to everyones reach.