Hugo França (b. 1954) has an unparalleled talent for seeing forms for his designs in the natural, untamed landscape. He approaches each piece as an adventure. As he travels in search of a trunk or a root to reincarnate as a unique functional or sculptural design, he draws from a deep knowledge of his native Brazil and from an understanding about traditional means of survival and design learned from his time spent living among native tribes.
Working exclusively with reclaimed wood, França creates exquisite one-of-a-kind designs that highlight the beauty and sensuality of these natural forms. His extremely labor-intensive works are primarily carved from the Pequi tree, a gigantic oleaginous tree, which averages 148 feet (45 meters) in height and 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter. França hand-carves each piece he designs, sometimes opening grooves in the wood, other times refining it to rediscover curves that highlight the tree's organic forms.
After studying industrial engineering at the university in his hometown in Brazil, França yearned for a more rural existence and moved to the jungle in northeastern Brazil in Bahia. There, he spent fifteen years living and working among the indigenous people who taught him their generations-old woodworking techniques. He now works between his atelier in São Paulo and the fishing village of Trancoso, in Bahia, where he maintains a studio and collaborates with locals to source fallen trees to repurpose for his designs.
França's work is included in private collections and institutions worldwide.