‘Chaise Longue’, 2019
Guto Índio da Costa
FEW DESIGNERS CAN boast of such a varied creative experience and output as that of Brazil’s Guto Índio da Costa. With a degree in Industrial Design, he went on to design a diverse range of products – from housewares and home appliances, residential and commercial architecture; to urban and exercise equipment, transportation systems, yachts and, naturally, furniture. So, when the bespoke manufacturer San German invited Índio da Costa to collaborate on a project, the designer saw it as an opportunity to apply his vast production knowledge to something more conceptual. Thus, his ‘Machina & Manus’ collection was born.
The idea was to push the boundaries and processes of both digital manufacturing technology and handmade craftsmanship, exploring their joint potential to create something unique. That high tech meets human hands approach perfectly sums up Índio da Costa’s design philosophy: “I am a designer of the generation influenced by Hartmut Esslinger (“form follows emotion”) but with a strong Bauhausian rational culture (“form follows function”)”, he states.
Índio da Costa spent months fine-tuning the lines of the chaise longue design, searching for something new, with a strong character and expressive of his design DNA. “Beyond a formal exuberance, it was fundamental that it be comfortable”, he explains. “Normally the backrest connects directly to the seat, but when we reversed the line, making the seat descend to the floor and support the backrest from behind, creating this generous and emblematic curvature, I immediately realised that that profile was unique and had exactly the right shape: the sum of Brazilian sensuality (fluid, organic, voluptuous) with Swiss precision (well-defined surfaces, sharp edges)”.
The chaise longue’s sinuous lines are reminiscent of Oscar Niemeyer’s designs inspired by the geography of Rio de Janeiro, but for Índio da Costa the inspiration comes not from the city but from its people – their wishes, desires and nonverbal needs. “The designer’s job is to seduce! It’s not just how the piece looks but how it feels to interact with it – that’s what inspires me.”
Minimalist yet complex in its making, the hybrid nature of the chaise longue’s execution and its use of such specialised machinery also echoes the designer’s firm belief in making technology a more human experience. This high level of digital manufacturing is also telling of the evolution of Brazil’s production means. “We have always had great creativity, but now more than ever we have better means to transform that creativity,” says the designer.
Attesting to this piece’s broad appeal, it was shown recently at the latest edition of both the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and DesignMiami/. Currently, it can be seen at the Equinoctial space at The Gallery, 200 Lex, in the New York Design Center.