Sitting Back With Sergio Rodrigues and Handred
I met Sergio Rodrigues personally on the occasion of the exhibition commemorating 40 years of the creation of his famous, prized, beautiful and pleasant Mole armchair. The year was 1997 and the place was the Rio Design Center, which remains in Leblon, although no longer with its purpose as a design center. There, I was the executive manager of the exhibitions for almost 20 years and it was my greatest and highest education in the universe of arts, architecture, design and various Brazilian and international cultures.
I worked on exhibitions of many creative and unique minds, while they were still alive in body and soul: Burle Marx, Rubens Gerchman, Roberto Moriconi, Tunga, Jorge Guinle, Juarez Machado, Flávio Berredo and others I cannot recall right now, unfortunately.
Within the Brazilian architecture and design scene: Tenreiro, Zanine, Sergio Bernardes, Janete Costa, Aída Boal and Sergio Rodrigues. With each of these figures, I had contact like a laborer who was not afraid to ask, to demonstrate, all at once, my admiration and ignorance. Depending on the moment, any human being may or may not be pleasant. There are those who only leave good impressions, and Sergio Rodrigues was one of them, of whom I have the delightful memories I share here.
Over the course of months, I participated in many meetings in the Conde de Irajá street office with Sergio, his partner in love, creation and business, Vera Beatriz, and his daughter, Verônica, also an architect, deeply committed to aggrandizing the works of her admired father.
Sergio Rodrigues was a simple, kind, delicate and very funny guy. At the very start of the event planning meetings, he always made a point to thank us for the initiative, but remarked that it might be an exaggeration. Obviously, those who already knew him retorted, like ‘there he goes again being modest about exposing his work’. But I was impressed because this was not at all common among the great creative I met in the height of their fame. Over time, I started thinking that what he really wanted to do was live both moments: one as Sergio Rodrigues the
designer/architect/famousmaninBrazilandintheworld and another as Sergio carioca/cartoonist/storyteller. One was inseparable from the other. In the ‘90s, Sergio Rodrigues expressed his enamored, relaxed way of being. The beret, the big moustache, the glasses that were accompanied by suspenders, and a utilitarian T-shirt, shirt, vest or jacket and very comfortable shoes or sneakers. Almost always with a fun touch of colorful socks.
In the ‘60s, he didn’t dress like that yet. It was the beginning of his career, when he faced great challenges. He wore a suit and tie as an obligation, but his freedom to create and dedicate himself to his work were always extraordinary.
place that had no specialized labor in the middle of the cerrado. The Candando chairs arrived there and were installed in the very last hour of the inauguration. Only one chair came out wrong, and Sergio took its place, standing up, so nobody would notice its absence during the ceremony. This is describe in the “A Bossa em Brasília” (The Bossa
in Brasília) segment on the Institute’s website and represents, to me, the introspection of Sergio Rodrigues in being combined with his work in an admittedly risky and almost uncomfortable situation.
depreciated into something valuable. This is how he chose to expose himself to the public. It wasn’t just the work/furniture/product whose sale him and his team lived off of (and still do). He offered a loving, good-humored, intimate exhibition of who he was and how he suggested life could be. I am honored to say I was a student of Sergio Rodrigues for a few months. With him and his work, I learned not only about the design of modern Brazilian furniture, but also about knowledge, culture, about the search for
individual expression, about the will to learn, question and find a place to speak from.
I wear Handred and look in the mirror. Beside me and waiting for me, that soft, comfy thing, like a womb. There’s a trance. A lay. Timeless.