What first captivated my attention at Espasso was its scent. When you walk in, a fresh and lively citrus note comes to greet you at the door, and as you walk in the amber middle note continues to seduce you lingering on as a wood and leather base note. You become mesmerized and feel enveloped in a familiar space, where beautiful, playful and sophisticated furniture feels completely at home.
Located on North Moore Street — in the heart of New York’s TiBeCa — Espasso was the first showroom to devote itself solely to Brazil’s mid-century to contemporary design. The space in itself has a very Mediterranean Lifestyle feeling, mixing the sophisticated with the white-washed floors and rustic wood and leather of many downtown lofts. The exquisite design pieces on display range from the very sleek, to the kind made of salvaged material.
Founded by Carlos Junqueira, native of Sao Paolo, the success of the New York Espasso led him to open another showroom in Los Angeles. Brazil being one of the richest countries in primary resources, is undoubtedly the reason why many of the pieces are made of the most exquisite wood.
I especially appreciate when humor, sustainability and innovation are used to create. The expansive beaches of Brazil are an ideal place to give drift wood another chance at life — or at being a designer piece. Such is the case of Fernando Rodrigues’s Karandash (seen above). The chair is given a quirky feel by the way each branch is left untouched, left to face whichever way nature made it. I think one of the reasons it feels so familiar is because it reminds me of the wooden gates — or tancas — used in Menorca to greet you into an estate, or to keep cattle from walking out of it.
Carlos Motta recycled the wood used in Braz (above, on the left) from construction sites. Humor is the main ingredient used in Sergio Rodrigues’ Chifruda, originally designed in 1962. Chifruda is a term commonly used to describe a woman whose husband is adulterous, and its shape reminds us of the spanish term used to describe the same thing: cuernuda (someone with horns). For some reason, this chair evokes a sculpture made by Picasso in his later years — maybe Rodrigues was inspired by the artists’ many and chifruda wives.
I love how the brazilian design displayed at Espasso combines the influence of European and Colonial design, with a very vernacular language of its own. It is a showroom for design addicts, as well as for those who like to be surrounded by beauty and quality.