Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 10/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
He's a youngster by Oscar Neimeyer's standards, but Sergio Rodrigues just turned 82. A mere 28 years old when he started manufacturing his own furniture under the name Oca, which means shelter, he's now considered the father of Brazilian furniture—both by his fellow countrymen and by a faction of enlightened enthusiasts worldwide. After selling vintage Rodrigues pieces for years, the New York gallery Espasso is producing a chair and four lamps, shown off at a birthday celebration hosted by Espasso president Carlos Junqueira.
Leather-upholstered Chifruda, with its flamboyant headrest sweeping 41 inches wide, was designed in 1962. The armchair was never produced, however, save for a lost prototype in jacaranda—a wood that has now been swapped out for a choice of two Brazilian hardwoods.
Three of the lamps likewise hail from '62. Sérgio Augusto, a tripod floor lamp 71 inches high, rolls on castors; the table lamps are Tcheco, with its linear base, and cyclindrical J. Hirth, named for his first business partner. His wife's nickname, Xibô, now graces a 2004 table lamp with a round hole in the rectangular base. All four fixtures pair chromed steel with a choice of two indigenous hardwoods and are topped by hemp shades and a spherical finial.