This is a great story and a discovery on my part of a terrific sculpture/ furniture designer from Brazil. His name is Hugo França and I am sure you will agree after you
read about him and his work.
What makes his works so unique is that he reclaims huge Pequí trees that have been cut down or burned due to deforestation or perhaps died from drought or flood in order to create breathtaking sculpted wood furniture. In all cases it is about re-using and re-purposing these magnificent trees into limited edition furnishings.
França searches out pequi trees in the Trancoso, Bahia area in Brazil with the help of the Pataxo Indians, local farmers and ranchers. He makes regular excursion …by car, motorcycle, mule…of 1000 miles from his high rise apartment home in Sao Paolo into the jungle around Trancoso searching for the perfect tree. Strangely enough, França doesn’t know how to sketch or draft so he relies on chalk to draw on the trees when he discovers them in order to figure out what the furniture will look like. At all times the natural beauty and form of the tree dictate to him how the piece will be formed.
França also reclaims the over sized canoes built by the Pataxo and reconfigures them into fashionable chairs or chaises incorporating a woven rope over the area where one sits.
The scale of his pieces is unfathomable , but you can get a small sense of it by looking at França in the photo at the top of this page happily ensconced in one of his Casulos, or cocoons. It is the majesty of his work that is impressive. Combine this with the uniqueness of each piece and it is easy to understand why his work has become extremely desirable.
França did not come to this position of esteem easily. In 1982 he exiled himself to the jungle in Bahia, after becoming disillusioned with the military government running Brazil. He spent 15 years living there, learning all about the trees and discovering how to create furniture pieces out of each and every part of a fallen tree. He eventually returned to Sao Paolo and began to get his work featured at major art events and the rest is history.
The beauty of his furniture is self evident. A noble piece of this earth, is recaptured and sculpted into a one-of-a kind table or chair or table, still maintaining all of it’s original magnificent features. Today his work is celebrated throughout the world and you can find his work at numerous chic hotels and in the collections of the rich and famous.
França has earned the kudos and praise he receives for his work. He has managed to create something of beauty out of something that was discarded in nature…the ultimate goal of sustainability…and to allow one and all to enjoy his unusual talent and creativity.
Want to leave you with a great video put out by the Atelier Hugo Franco…I think it shows it all:
Ciao, ciao ’til next time!