Design Notes Archive



For a lot of us growing up, the year 2020 was synonymous with “the future” in movies and sci-fi novels so it’s a bit surreal to finally be here. It’s also hard to believe that this mythical year marks UNESCO’s first ever declaration of a World Capital of Architecture. In conjunction with the International Union of Architects, they’ve bestowed the honour on Rio de Janeiro – a city that is punctuated by futuristic-style buildings like Oscar Neimeyer’s cliff-perched Niterói Contemporary Art Museum and Santiago Calatrava’s aptly named Museum of Tomorrow.

It comes at a moment when Brazil as a whole seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. In London, Whitechapel Gallery is wrapping up an exhibition of Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino’s work, and in New York a mobile by renowned contemporary artist Beatriz Milhazes has been installed at the new Hudson Yards complex. Raised in Rio, she is deeply inspired by the work of Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, who just had a retrospective at the New York Botanical Garden. He famously repaved the path along Ipanema Beach with the now iconic swirling mosaic and his work and influence permeate the country.

Head north of Rio to the beach town of Trancoso - lauded by Vogue as Brazil’s answer to Tulum - and a disciple of Marx’s, Isabel Duprat, created a lush garden for the home of fashion designer Serge Cajfinger. Similarly Marx’s graphic patterns seem reflected in the bathroom tiles of nearby Casa Cajueiro, designed by Diesel alum Wilbert Das. Immerse yourself in Das’ style at his Trancoso hotel and spa, Uxua, or back in Rio stay at another fashionable property, the Janiero hotel opened by Osklen designer Oskar Metsavaht.

Photos © Marinelson Almeida, Tyba/Courtesy of The Jewish Museum, Filipe Redondo