It’s not everyday that we’re lucky enough to come across works like we have here today from Brazilian artist and craftsman Hugo Franca, but boy does it make your morning when projects of this nature do come along. Hugo is responsible for the bespoke handmade furniture that you see before you, all of which he handcrafts from reclaimed wood as a means to preserve the beauty found in the natural environment, through both functional and sculptural design. Hugo has a deep knowledge of the traditional designs once found in Brazil, which I was amazed to learn he developed whilst spending several years living amongst the native tribes of his beloved homeland.
This unique experience has altered his perception to focus more on emphasising the details and individual marks of each subject he uses, opposed to many of his contemporaries who look to completely transform their original material into a shape that can replicated over and over. His works are completely one of a kind in contrast and each bare a direct tie to the time he spent in the northeastern jungle of Bahia. Here Hugo spent fifteen years working alongside the indigenous people who taught him generation old techniques for working with wood, he combined these lessons with his previous study in industrial engineering and together this created a unique medium with which few other modern parallels can be drawn.
In saying this I can recall a few individuals that have occupied our archive previously that entered into this school of thought of working alongside nature also. However unfortunately neither Alexandre Noll nor George Nakashima are still gracing this earth and creating work that just feels inherently the way it should be. I have to say this, and I hate to sound pretentious, but I’ve never been a big fan of synthetic materials. Of course they have purpose in modern design, but I’ll always lean towards something more substantial like what we have here.
Hugo has to be the greatest designer of this nature currently alive, I certainty can’t think of another person with a portfolio of such significance. Of course we will keep searching for others and hopefully in the coming weeks we can unearth a few more creatives like Hugo who are inspired by the environment around us. I mention George Nakashima above, and in doing so I feel obliged to reference his daughter Mira who continues on his legacy as a designer and artistic director of the studio herself. I think we’ll share their story another day but in the meantime I really recommend you head across to Hugo’s dedicated webpage and take a glimpse of the other remarkable works he has been responsible for. Enjoy!