From a family of prominent Brazilian artists and intellectuals in Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Rodrigues (1927-2014) took the passion for art and culture that surrounded him and shaped it into a career as one of Brazil’s most influential designers. The roots of Rodrigues’ work lie in his use of traditional raw materials such as jacaranda, peroba and imbuia to create icons of Brazilian taste, value and identity.
After graduating in 1952 from the Faculdade Nacional de Arquitetura, he assisted in opening Moveis Artesanal Paranaense, the first modern art and furniture store in Curitiba in Brazil. Even though the store attracted a lot of interest, it was a commercial failure. In 1955, Rodrigues founded Oca, one of the most influential modern furniture companies in Brazil. He left the company in 1968 and since then has been working in his studio developing furniture lines for industrial production, architecture projects, and hotel, residential and office environments, as well as systems of pre-fabricated homes.
Rodrigues made his mark on the international design scene as the creator of the Poltrona Mole (1957) lounge chair, which was awarded first prize at the International Furniture Competition in Cantu, Italy (1961) where it was lauded for being unmistakably Brazilian in material, scale and attitude. His designs appear as ambassadors of Brazilian design in architectural projects worldwide such as the Brazilian Embassy in Rome as well as many interiors of Oscar Niemeyer’s buildings in Brasilia.