Mole Armchair and Ottoman

Sergio Rodrigues Brazilian

Not on view

Sergio Rodrigues is credited as the father of modern design in Brazil for having introduced a uniquely Brazilian formal vocabulary with the Mole Armchair, so named for its relaxed, comfortable, soft appearance, summarized by the word "mole" in Portuguese. The design originated with a 1957 commission for the photographer Otto Stupakoff, who asked Rodrigues for a "spread-out" sofa for his studio. The design sat in Rodrigues’ company OCA showroom window on the Praça General Osório in Ipanema for years without many commissions or local interest until the chair was prized and subsequently manufactured in Italy for European consumption. It has become an icon of Brazilian modern design internationally due to winning first prize in the IV Concorso Internazionale del Mobile in Cantu, Italy in 1961, where Arne Jacobsen proclaimed it as communicating the unique characteristics of Brazilian culture. The structure of jacaranda is typical of Brazilian furniture since the colonial period, but the low-set, thick and sturdy quality gave it an authentically Brazilian character. The leather straps and buckles that form the sling understructure are associated with the gaucho culture of the pampas in the southernmost region of the country. The overstuffed and tufted black leather cushions suggest a relaxed and easy-going vibe, the attitude of the Cariocas, inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro.

Mole Armchair and Ottoman, Sergio Rodrigues (Brazilian, Rio de Janeiro 1927–2014 Rio de Janeiro), Jacaranda and leather

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