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Architecture X Market: Designed by Brazil

11/03/2018

In the opposite direction of the Brazilian export market, based on commodities and more complex industrialized products, such as airplanes and automobiles, some architecture firms venture overseas and get recognition on the other side of the globe

There are few and rare compelling examples of Brazilian architects working abroad. National firms, mostly, have few episodes in their portfolios, resulting from contests, direct contacts or admirers. Examples of works disseminated across other continents are scarce, and the number of firms who have foreigners as employers is way lower – in most cases, they are Brazilians living abroad.

Residential project in Kuantan, Malaysia, of studio mk27. Credit: mk27/Press Release

Residential project in Kuantan, Malaysia, of studio mk27. Credit: mk27/Press Release

Today’s big names have gained ground in international awards – such as Márcio Kogan, FGMF and Arthur Casas –, which all have consolidated experience abroad. They are the portrait of Brazilian architecture “for export.”

Studio mk27 was awarded at the World Architecture Festival, by Architectural Review, AZ and Wallpaper Design Award, among several other outstanding awards. Today, it has more works in progress abroad than in Brazil, in countries such as Portugal, Spain, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bali. Kogan, the owner, is a professor at the Politecnico di Milano, and has lectured at the Royal Academy of Arts, AIA, Societé Française des Architects and at universities in several countries. It was when the English magazine Wallpaper first published his production, in 2008, that the interest in the works of his firm overflowed. Two years later, in 2010, the famous residence in Paraty, designed by him, was nominated house of the year by the British publication, further increasing the visibility of his studio’s production.

Brazilian Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, by Arthur Casas with Atelier Marko Brajovic. Credit: Fillipo Poli/Atelier Marko Brajovic.

Brazilian Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, by Arthur Casas with Atelier Marko Brajovic. Credit: Fillipo Poli/Atelier Marko Brajovic.

Arthur Casas, in turn, has a branch of his studio in New York, with works in the USA, Europe and Japan, in addition to being the designer of the Brazilian Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015 – a performance that is really consolidated abroad. FGMF, winner of Prix Versailles, promoted by Unesco, and the Monsoon Architecture Award (with Corujas building), in 2017, was responsible for a small urban intervention in Minsk, capital of Belarus, and has projects underway in Portugal and Ecuador. Adding to the recipe the number of national awards of the three firms, other foreign contractors will certainly come.

Residential project of FGMF in Estoril, Portugal: first incursions of the trio in foreign lands. Credit: Press Release.

Residential project of FGMF in Estoril, Portugal: first incursions of the trio in foreign lands. Credit: Press Release.

In addition to these examples, a less famous but rather emblematic case of how the Brazilian talent can be exported catches the eye: Fernando Brandão, whose studio became known for having designed Livraria Cultura’s store chain – the unit located at Conjunto Nacional, in São Paulo, thrilled none other than José Saramago – and the Brazilian pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai, in 2010, he had such an intense experience in China that he was invited to be part of the faculty of the Beijing De Tao Masters Academy. On the other hand, he would have a Chinese branch of his firm implemented at the university.

In Minsk, urban requalification project developed for the future Brazilian Embassy, also by FGMF. Credit: Press Release.

In Minsk, urban requalification project developed for the future Brazilian Embassy, also by FGMF. Credit: Press Release.

He was the success of the Brazilian pavilion at the Expo – which hit a record audience of 2.6 million visitors – that ignited Brandão’s relationship with the Chinese. He realized that it was possible to work with the local workforce, that there was warmth on the eastern lands, and that his work there had gained a degree of recognition that we would hardly find here, where colleagues, in general, maintain the atmosphere of competition latent.

Several projects have come from his drawing board, usually on a large scale, for the Chinese audience: restaurants, mixed-use complexes, urban plans, schools and cultural centers. The architect began to be worshiped by the locals, giving crowded lectures and collecting prizes in the country.

Creativity and Innovation Center in the city of Liyang, China. Designed by Fernando Brandão in the Chinese branch of the FB+ studio. Credit: Press Release.

Creativity and Innovation Center in the city of Liyang, China. Designed by Fernando Brandão in the Chinese branch of the FB+ studio. Credit: Press Release.

The creativity and lightness of Brazilian architectural thought draws attention abroad, a fact known since Oscar Niemeyer, and which involves the recognition and recent awards of Paulo Mendes da Rocha. For those who understand that this is a possible and interesting path, boundaries are no longer a limitation for a quite some time now. Talent can also be exported.

Also by FB+ in Chinese lands, design of a Mall in Shanghai. Credit: Press Release.

Also by FB+ in Chinese lands, design of a Mall in Shanghai. Credit: Press Release.

 

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