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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

José Zanine Caldas

José Zanine Caldas
José Zanine Caldas (1919-2001) was a self-taught Brazilian artist, designer and architect. He was born in Belmonte on the southern coast of Bahia. When he was 20, he moved to Rio de Janeiro and took a job in a workshop that made architectural scale models. In this capacity, he was introduced to modernism when he met Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa, the principal architect and urban planner of Brasilia, respectively.

In the 1940s he and several partners started the Z Artistic Furniture (Moveis Artisticos Z) line and designed plywood furniture for mass production. He left the company in 1952 because of conflicts with his partners.

In the 1950s he became inspired by local craftsmen in his hometown who carved canoes from felled trees. He began to make furniture chiseled directly from huge logs. He was an advocate of forest protection, so he tried to plant a tree every time a tree was cut down for one of his projects.

He moved to Sao Paulo to work as a scale modeler, furniture producer, landscape designer and modeling teacher at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Sao Paulo. While there, he caused considerable controversy by designing homes without an architecture degree. Lucio Costa and others helped him obtain an honorary degree.

Zanine's work has been exhibited at the Louvre in Paris and at the Museu de Arte Moderna of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.


Z Line chair



Side table


Coffee table

Dining table

Side chair

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  1. Very playful, to much furniture is to serious.

    1. I find that some of his tables almost have a jigsaw puzzle feel.

  2. I have to say that bar looks a bit like a concoction you'd see on Flea Market Flips!

    1. I'm hoping it wasn't always that unfortunate shade of green.