The Girl From Ipanema

Let’s start with common knowledge: Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world, has a lot of tropical rainforest, thousands of kilometres of coast line, the Amazon river, Rio de Janeiro, the Foz de Iguacu waterfalls, the world famous carnival, futebol (football), bossanova, samba, caipirinha, feijoada, picanha and capoeira. The weather is rumoured to be better than in England. Oh, and the people speak Portuguese…. (don’t worry, we are more than happy to explain the details later!)

If we would be business people we would probably be able to show you a lot of good looking numbers and some very convincing tables, charts and other graphics that would explain to you why we like Brazil. Luckily, as designers, we can also give you some very good reasons.

First things first, Christian Leyk was living 4 years in Sao Paulo as a child, and he claims that his career as a designer practically started there in the kindergarten. He also insists that because of that, he’s a Brazilian by heart: “Brazil simply captures you. You can leave, but it never leaves you…”

This should be even more true for Ana Yogui. A real ‘Paulista’, being born in Sao Paulo, she is closely connected to her country by family and friends.

Brazil is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is of course true that this economy still has challenges and there are obstacles like corruption and crime and the gap between the haves and have-nots. There is the problem that people developed jeito (a way around) to live with those problems (rather than fighting them). But generally, Brazil is a market with amazing potential. It’s not a potential waiting to be unlocked, it’s happening at this very moment.

At its heart, it’s the largest rainforest eco-system in the world, but the major cities and most of Brazilian life you’ll find along its coast, at the beach or actually, on the water. We like Brazil because we understand it. Unlike other new players in the global economy, such as China or India (which are undoubtedly very rich and interesting cultures, too) the South American culture has been strongly influenced by its European heritage.

Modern Brazil is a fusion of European, Asian (Japanese), African, South- and Anglo American flavours, making it a very rich and varied experience. Talking about flavours… we do like feijoada (a hearty stew with rice, black beans, pork…), picanha (the best part of beef in our opinion), pao de queijo (bread made with cheese), caipirinha (a cocktail with sugar and lime). We also like the Brazilian music. And dance. And architecture. As a matter of fact, in general, we think that Brazil and coquine![design] do have a few things in common.

There is that saying that while the cariocas (people from Rio) have their beaches, the paulistas have their malls (for a great shopping experience, however, head for Rua Oscar Freire!) But, as a matter of fact, anywhere in Brazil, the people who can afford it, do like to spend their money. Brazilians do like shopping. And they do appreciate good design (as a status symbol).

The bottom line is: coquine![design] likes Brazil. And we hope that soon, Brazil will like us, too.