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Singing the spaces, building the song

Zaha Hadid :: JS Bach Chamber Music Hall, Manchester, UK :: photo© Luke Hayes














Philosophers, historians and theorists have been long trying to establish a connection between music and architecture. Two thousand five hundred years ago, Pythagoras had already conceptualized the mathematical harmony as a cornerstone to explain the entire creation, the existence and operation of the universe. According to the Greek philosopher, the ‘pleasant relation of proportions’ would make all things vibrate in a great universal harmony, just like the notes in a song.


Some of these relationships of proportions established by Pythagoras came to define canonical spatial relations of classical architecture, as well as the predominant musical ‘patterns’ until the Modern Age. In architecture and western music, the beauty of a work was guided by the Pythagorean concept of harmony among its elements for centuries.


This understanding began to be questioned in music, with the emergence of the tonal system, which enabled the exploration of other relations of proportion and intervals, once considered inharmonious and therefore incorrect. Music went from tonality to atonality, until its dissolution and dodecaphony, with creators such as Schoenberg and John Cage. In parallel, social and political changes resulting from the rise of the bourgeoisie in Europe sparked the desire to set the formal rules of classicism free and the search for individual expression and innovation, allowing the emergence of a new architecture – which, by breaking the commitment to symmetry and the relations of proportions previously defined as pleasant (correct), culminated, centuries later, in experiences such as those of Frank Gehry or Daniel Liebeskind. Today, the notion of beauty – whether in music or architecture – is marked by new and diverse concepts.


Each in its own way, music and architecture are aesthetic compositions resulting from the association of different elements, organized and governed by certain principles. Height, length, proportion, alternation, repetition, arrangement, rhythm, intensity, density, texture, contrast, harmony, balance, tension… these are all elements of both musical and architectural creations. The quality of the work as well as its beauty stem from the knowledge, competence and sensitivity of its author in connecting these elements.


If, throughout history, architecture and music reveal parallel paths (and not just with regard to the evolution of knowledge, but also in their relationship with society), they currently seem to be following divergent paths: whereas the quality in a work of architecture is being increasingly perceived and required socially, one does not seem to care that our musical production is increasingly devoid of attributes. Today, we pursue and exalt the quality and beauty of homes, buildings, theaters and arenas, but to discuss the quality and the beauty of the music performed in these spaces is off the agenda.


At some point, our society has ceased to understand music as an aesthetic composition, and simply relegated it to the territory of entertainment. It’s a shame. By dispensing with the quality and beauty in our music production, we are increasingly missing the opportunity to expand our pleasures and the meaning of our existence.

Simplicity and style

Elsa Peretti :: photo by Duane Michals :: Vogue, 1974

Elsa Peretti :: photo by Duane Michals :: Vogue, 1974













Elsa Peretti is perhaps the greatest responsible for the contemporary image of Tiffany & Co. Since her first collection for the brand in 1974, the Italian designer has been creating beautiful objects and jewelry that are characterized by an organic simplicity and an unmistakable formal elegance – attributes that have kept her work among the best sellers of the company over the past 40 years.


Born in Florence in 1940, Elsa revealed her creative, curious and free spirit in a very early age. Daughter of a magnate of the oil industry, while still young she distanced herself from her conservative parents to spend time in Switzerland, and teach Italian and ski. Back in Italy, she graduated in interior design in Rome and, after breaking her engagement, moved to Milan and began working with the architect Dado Torrigiani. In the following year, 1963, she moved to Barcelona and began her career as a model, and plunged into the fascinating world of Catalan artists and architects – in particular Gaudi, a declared influence to her. Fascinated by the sculptural forms, she traveled to Japan and Hong Kong to immerse in Asian art and symbolism; finally, in 1968, she emigrated to the United States and went to live in New York (according to her, the best place to enjoy one’s youth at that time).


When walking the runways for Halston, Sant’ Angelo and De La Renta, Elsa noticed her special interest in the design of jewelry and accessories. With her somewhat rebellious personality, refined esthete perception and proximity to the fashion world, she quickly realized that the language that was emerging in clothing design (characterized by the combination of comfort, practicality and sensuality) should also permeate dressing accessories. Then she began her wax modeling work with abstract, simple and organic shapes inspired by the forms of nature; later, by dipping them in silver, she created beautiful pieces, attractive because of their clean and innovative design and their superb execution. Only 5 years separated her first necklace creation to her contract with Tiffany – and by the time the renowned jewelry brand launched her first collection, all her pieces of work were already sold out.


Elsa Peretti usually says that her work comes from her life. And there is no doubt that every one of her creations reflects her personality and the way she sees the world: her passion for nature, whose shapes she copies and then reinvents; her tireless curiosity, that moves her in search of various materials and production processes; her devotion to craftsmanship, that makes each creation the result of hard and investigative manual work; and her eternal rebellion that keeps the flame of questioning alive in her.


Even today, there is no model more perfect for Elsa Peretti’s creations than herself. Style (which, according to the designer herself, does not go with excesses), beauty, simplicity, competence, elegance and personality – to see, wear, admire and learn.


To learn more: http://elsaperettidesign.blogspot.com.br

Our innovative history

Mosaic :: BR Conspiration :: Fábio Galeazzo :: 2012











According to some historians, the first record of tiles in Brazil dates back to around 1620, when pieces of glazed ceramics from Portugal came to adorn the convent of Santo Amaro de Água Fria, in Olinda. Since then – whether for its strong representation of the metropolis’s culture, for its plastic beauty or for its thermal comfort characteristics (well suited to our climate) – the tile gained more and more space in Brazilian buildings. Initially present in panels of religious or government-owned buildings, in a few decades the beautiful pieces began to be imported not only from Portugal but also from France and the Netherlands (countries that produced their tiles with an important forma of artistic expression) and also began to serve as frontages of urban buildings.


Also in the late nineteenth century, Brazil started manufacturing the tile – but it was not before the beginning of the twentieth century that our production became regular. And although during that time some architects abandoned the use of this material (as a rejection of elements that represented the colonial period), the modern Brazilian movement, seeking to “combine tradition and modernity, and turn domestic and traditional materials into a bridge between the colonial and the modern”* (re)incorporated the tile to its architecture. Since then, the domestic tile has become a powerful artistic expression of our own culture, and depicted, along with geometric shapes, elements of our landscape, our wildlife and our flora.


Under this historical perspective, the tiles created by designer Fabio Galeazzo and now released by Azulejaria Brasil (Cerâmica Antigua) have gained even greater momentum. In a collection named Conspiração BR (BR Conspiracy, in a free translation), which consisted of 20 prints divided into four themes, Galeazzo rescues and revisits, with mastery, one of the most important elements of our architecture.


Galeazzo reveals deep knowledge, extreme sensitivity and an enormous capacity for innovation through his choice of format (15cm X 15cm, the most traditional in our production), his choice of themes (which range from Festa do Divino images to prints traditionally found in the Brazilian cheetah), and his assembly of the color palette, thus obtaining results of undeniable plastic beauty.


By combining technical and theoretical expertise, sensitivity and talent, Galeazzo proves that interior design can indeed be innovative and storytelling, playful and cultural – all at once, while providing beauty to the environment, pleasure to the eye and comfort to the soul.


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Multiple choices









Sample books have been used since the sixteenth century as working tools for all areas of the decorative arts. With the purpose of experimentation, documentation, marketing or distribution, they are endowed with refined beauty since it offers countless possibilities of colors, shapes, forms or textures, and provide the perception of variety – and by doing so in an orderly fashion, they allow understanding and pleasure. (Quoting Montesquieu: “It does not suffice it to show many things to the soul: we must do it in order, to be able to remember what we saw and begin to imagine what we will see; the soul thus rejoices for its extent and its ability to penetrate”.)


On this theme, in 2008 the Cooper-Hewitt Museum held a wonderful exhibition called “Multiple Choices – From Sample to Product”. The samples ranged from sales catalogs with replica buttons of the French industry of the eighteenth century to tiles resembling the porcelain colors of Sèvres, to the latest Pantone® Guides notebooks, books and objects of unparalleled beauty, capable of filling our eyes and taking our breath away.


The contact with such universe of colors, shapes and their infinite associations results in a sensory experience able to provide our soul with different and infinite pleasures. A beautiful example is the PantoneHotel, inaugurated almost a year ago in Brussels. By inviting people to “experience Brussels through the lens of colors”, the hotel assigned to each of its seven floors different color palettes, thus aiming to provide its guests with different sensations – and therefore, different pleasures.

The borders of design

Olive Street nº1 :: byHenzel















There are objects that, even if produced with high technology, according to a specific project and on an industrial scale, are displayed before our eyes with the power of artwork, unique and manufactured. They take on a “subject” role before the observer rather than mere “objects”, surprising for their originality, touching for their unique beauty and tempting for the ability to subvert existing standards. These objects drive us out of our comfort zones and demand from us a new perspective and a new reflection on what we thought we knew.


The rugs created by Henzel Studio are like this – they question, test and transcend boundaries that often persist between design (in this case, interior) and art. The starting point is a fresh look at this object, so familiar (?) to all of us… And the result is invariably stunning.


There is no doubt that, without technical excellence and high quality materials, it would be impossible to materialize in wool traits and colors that seem to have come out of paintings, graffiti and watercolors. But if these rugs speak to our soul, it’s because behind the technical excellence and quality materials, another soul is released to them, willing to turn them into a new medium of expression. To do so, it questioned the conventions, overthrew patterns, uses and purposes, and thus redefined not only a new world of colors, images and treatments for this object, but also the relationship we establish with it.


Restlessness, nonconformism and passion are key tools to open our minds and our hearts, allowing us to break free to the new. And our soul needs the new – (re)discovering shapes, colors, uses and relationships, we can create and enjoy, every day, new sources of beauty and pleasure.


To learn more: www.byhenzel.com

David Trubridge

Coral lamp :: David Trubridge











I first saw David Trubridge’s Coral Lamp at Soho’s DWR in NYC, about two years ago. From classics of the 20th century to contemporary pieces created by talented yet little known artists, the furniture and objects found in these U.S. chain stores are always very well selected, grabbing everyone’s attention for their beauty and elegance, and sometimes – like in this case – also for their innovation.


The lamp was placed in a more intimate atmosphere at the back of the store, and the effect of light and shadows created by its full and empty traits was overwhelming. I was also touched by the counterpoint there seemed to be in the essence of that object: how is it possible to obtain a result as delicate and organic from the assembly of a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces are all identical, rationally designed and industrially (re)produced?


A quick search on the designer has shed some light on this question: majored in naval architecture in England, lived on a boat for 5 years and then began designing furniture; his wirk uses wood from sustainable plantations and his projects seek to obtain maximum effect from minimum material; in addition, David believes in durability as a key attribute of good design and in art as a driving force of human development.


Upon learning this story, I could understand that the pleasure I felt by observing this lamp had not only elapsed from the appreciation of its beautiful shapes or visual effects, but also from the perception of its soul. I believe that the soul, when present in things, talks directly with ours – and this conversation encompasses the reasons for tastes and pleasures we are capable of feeling.


To learn more: