Zanine Caldas

For all enquiries please contact us

Zanine Caldas
Lounge Chair, 1950s
Plywood, Leather
H:80 W:62 D:101 cm
8 kg
Historical Design

José Zanine Caldas (1919-2001) was a self-taught artist, designer and architect from Belmonte, Brazil.

For over 10 years he ran a workshop specialising in architectural scale models, where he developed over 500 models for top Brazilian architects including Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa. In 1949, Caldas created the Fábrica Moveis Artísticos Z to produce standardised plywood furniture for a wider public.

Tired of the capitalist approach of the company, he put an end to the venture and moved to the coastal suburb of Nova Viçosa. There he began to create furniture that was later called Móveis Denúncia – protest furniture. Inspired by both the local craftsmanship and the natural resources of the area, his large wooden pieces were often made from a single tree trunk. Caldas was demonstrating for future generations the variety and magnificence of the forest.

Caldas was a radical creator. His work always aimed to find essentialist aspects at the root of each of his projects, whether in the exploration of the natural environment or his conceptualisation of indoor space as a synergy of the senses. His engagement with Brazilian craftsmanship and natural materials underlies the character of all his work.

The structure of the lounge chair is made of marine plywood, which allows it to be made from a single cut, with an organic shape. It is considered an important piece in the history of Brazilian modern furniture design, and no longer a product with the ubiquity of plywood. The braided leather moulds itself to the body, distributing the weight to different elements.