Sergio Rodrigues - Brazil at the tip of a pencil

Copy and research: Regina Zappa


An enlightened creator

Sergio left us as he reached the top of his creative verve

"May I have discovered the spirit of Brazilian furniture?" once asked the restless Sergio Rodrigues, after his Mole armchair was awarded. More than that, Sergio was able to translate the Brazilian soul into his furniture and to synthesize the way of being a "carioca," as Rio de Janeiro natives are known. Easygoing, playful, an adept of informality, Sergio was always an open-hearted, unarmed boy. His mood contaminated his furniture and everyone around him.

"Until Sergio appeared, what ruled was furniture that forced people to sit with good manners and elegance. Sergio brought about complete informality and comfort. Mole embraces you, other pieces welcome you well and give you freedom to move," said the journalist Adélia Borges.

Sergio left us as he reached the top of his creative verve. Were it not for the illness that took him early, while still creating and producing, we would yet today have the opportunity to experiment with his inventions, smart humor, and his passion for the craft he chose. As far back as the days of his store, Oca, in the 1950s and 1960s, master architect Lucio Costa was amazed at his dynamism: "Generous, instead of just celebrating his fabulous armchair, he remains active, he never stops."

Sergio worked in many areas. He created 1,200 models of furniture. He designed pieces for offices, hotels, restaurants, gardens and homes, banks, and ministries. In Interior planning he designed settings, sets and created decoration, all in addition to his architectural work. He was the setting and decor editor for Senhor and Joia magazines, and wrote articles for numerous publications, including Módulo magazine.

He created for the Oca (from 1955 to 1968), Mobilínea (from 1961 to 1963), Meia-Pataca (from 1963 to 1968), Escala (1975) and Tenda Brasileira (1977) stores. In 1985, Sergio said that the trend in furniture would be to reduce it to the minimum and indispensable expression: Lightweight, practical, versatile, and inexpensive. One of his major contributions was to take interior design away from the realm of futile ideas and social status and put it within the field of culture.

When Sergio began, interior design was traditionally the stronghold of women, housewives, especially the richer ones who could decorate their homes. That was until Sergio went on to make a male professional contribution to an area dominated by amateur females. Men who were in architecture at that time cared very little about interiors. "Sergio was a male voice in the universe of interior decoration," said Adélia Borges. "He is neither delicate or a mannerist. He is more incisive, rough, coarse, and this is not a negative evaluation. But that is his language. He gave up on the idea of the aesthetic beautification and embellishments."

Caricature of Sergio Rodrigues in the Mole armchair.
Caricature of Sergio Rodrigues in the Mole armchair.