On August 17th, 2008 the city of São Paulo woke up to the tragic news that one of its most prestigious theaters had been completely destroyed by fire, except for its façade. Since its inaugural concert conducted by the composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, in 1950, Cultura Artística had been a staple in the cultural history of the city.
While fire reduced the theater to ashes, the mosaic mural titled “Allegory of the Arts” survived the ordeal practically unscathed. Most probably, the firefighters who struggled to save the building façade did not know they were preserving a work of art valued in more than US$2.5 million.
“Allegory of the Arts” is one of the crown jewels of Vidrotil. To date this superb mosaic ranks as the largest public mural in São Paulo. Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, one of Brazil’s greatest artists, designed this 157-ft. by 28-ft. scene to be rendered at the then three-year-old Vidrotil mosaic workshop. At the time, it took our company’s mosaic artists two months just to set the more than 500,000 glass tesserae that compose the design. Upon its dedication above the theater entrance, this splendid mural not only became one of São Paulo’s landmarks, but also definitely garnered a reputation for Vidrotil among artists and architects.
In 2008, when faced with the decision of whether or not to reerect Cultura Artística, its Board of Trustees chose not to. Instead, they commissioned architect Paulo Bruna with a new and ambitious project that will expand the theater’s capacity and modernize its facilities. Thanks to fundraising proceedings, the rebuilding efforts started in March 2010 and the venue is scheduled to reopen in 2012.
We at Vidrotil are proud to collaborate in the restoration of such a meaningful work of art and happy to see our most important mosaic mural providing the cornerstone for the new Cultura Artísticatheater.
After ranking second at the 2009 Leaf Awards, the celebrated Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan was awarded “Best new private house” at Design Awards 2010 by British magazine Wallpaper* for his Costa Verde house.
Located in a private cove in the region known as Costa Verde, just south of Rio de Janeiro, the stylish summer house of clean lines sits practically on the white beach sand, surrounded by the untouched native greenery.
We are very happy for this award as our mosaics were the glass tiles of choice for this project. At Costa Verde, the infinity pool flanked by a handsome ipe-wood sundeck was finished in ¾”x ¾” Vidrotil glass mosaics, color 409. What is more, the organic texture of our handcrafted mosaics do look great in this setting… just saying…
Our congratulations to Marcio Kogan and his team and thanks for working with Vidrotil!
In 2008 Vidrotil was commissioned to create a mosaic mural based on an original design by Romero Britto, an artist whose neo-Pop art has always portrayed joyfulness of living.
The mural was installed in the main hall of Instituto do Câncer de São Paulo, where the scene pledging a sunny day, a calm and starry night, butterflies, flowers and a group of people gathered together in mutual support conveys a feeling of warmth to all who visit the largest cancer treatment facility in Latin America.
The use of vivid colors in murals, paintings and sculptures is a trademark of Romero Britto’s art. In this work, the Vidrotil glass mosaic tile palette not only perfectly met the artist’s color specifications but also added movement and reflectivity to the mosaic surface. To assemble the 49-ft. long, 10-ft. tall mosaic piece at our workshop, 12 craftspeople handled no less than 137,000 tesserae in the translation of Romero Britto’s design, a careful job that required more than 30 days work.
In Romero Britto’s website you can get a taste of the breadth of his body of work and also get to know a little more about the social work the Britto Foundation does.
This post comes a little late, but we just got our hands on the Summer issue of Modernism magazine last week. Their cover was dedicated to the Werneck House, a fine example of Brazilian modernist architecture of the 1950s.
The house design, a gift that artist Regina Wernek received from Marcelo Roberto — one of three brothers who formed the architecture firm MMM Roberto — is a jewel in terms of all-around sophisticated design. Besides the innovative building process, practically every constructive and decorative detail in the house was designed and made to order, from wall and floor coverings to cabinets and closets, dinnerware and fabrics. At the entrance, the visitor is welcomed by a lovely mural made in Vidrotil glass mosaic tiles by Regina’s father, Paulo Werneck, in 1959. “[The mural] blends the aesthetics of decorative art with the function of a durable and protective exterior,” says Werneck’s grandson and current house owner, designer Gaspar Saldanha. The Werneck House is emblematic of masterful design and understated distinction.
As to the mosaic art of Paulo Werneck (1907-1987), it was informed by the Modernist movement launched in Brazil in the late 1920s. In the words of art historian Carlos Martins, Werneck’s murals can be found in numerous residences and public buildings across Brazil, designed by modernist architects that include Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier, to which they provide a dynamic, complement and distinctive character.
Werneck’s murals have been surveyed as part of the Paulo Werneck Project and can be seen here.
Unfortunately, Modernism magazine does keep older online articles on file, but for more pictures we suggest you check out this blog.
When the Getty Trust commissioned Machado and Silvetti Associates for the redesign and expansion of the Getty Villa in Malibu, CA, one of the major challenges they faced was the harmonization of all buildings and public areas with the existing J. Paul Getty Museum, erected in 1974 as a recreation of a first-century Roman country house. In the words of design architect Jorge Silvetti, “It’s a huge property and it was already a landmark. Our approach to the villa museum building focused on (improving) its classical architecture. This was going to be an exemplary paradigm designed to help the public understand how the Romans lived.”
To this end, instead of replicating Roman architecture, the modernist architects conceived original elements that defined a character for the new Getty Villa and harmonized the otherwise disparate existing structures. In their master plan, they designed a building complex that was to have the original villa at the center and new structures around it, as gateways that deliver the visitor to the old.
The $ 275 million masterful renovation of the villa took twelve years and the collage of old and new involved exquisite combinations of onyx, travertine, granite, sandstone, copper, bronze, wood, glass and striated concrete, both in the new additions and in the restoration of original floors and walls. On a par with these materials, glass mosaic tiles handcrafted by Vidrotil were used not only to add unique sheen and organic texture on restroom walls across the complex, but also, thanks to their timelessness, to serve as common denominator for the original villa and the architectural additions.
By the way, the museum also has a great collection of antique art…
When in the Malibu, CA area, make sure you pay a visit to the Getty Villa. In the meantime, you can check out the Machado and Silvetti’s website.
Congratulations to architects Agnes Manso and Maria Alice Miglorancia! Last week they won the first prize for best public facility design at Casa Cor São Paulo 2009 with their “Women’s Restroom”. The custom design by Vidrotil is a lovely and most unusual striped combination of two shades of red (3940 and 3950) and two shades of purple (330 and 340) rendered in glass mosaic tiles, sizes 3/4″ x 3/4″ and 3/8″x 3/8″.
Despite Marcio Kogan being widely known for the excellence of his architectural design and for the international awards he has been accumulating over time, it is always a renewed pleasure to see his work getting high praise from architects in the media and on the Internet. A quick Google search shows the buzz that his spectacular design of the Panama House has stirred up on the web after taking second place in the 2008 International Design Award.
In this residential project, Kogan once again materialized his preferred mix of contrasting materials – here, in stone, wood, glass and concrete –, the “box” form and the intention of the design, carefully attending to details. Like his other designs, Kogan’s Panama House boasts a refined economy of forms and shares a same general ambience of breathability, luminosity and lightness – an inspiration and a great treat to the eyes.
In the Panama House as well as in many other projects by Marcio Kogan, Vidrotil glass tiles play a prominent role as external and internal coverings. The swimming pool and the reflecting pool you see in the picture were clad in our green 240A 2N and 3400 sq. ft. of white 610 and blue 480 mosaics were used in internal areas.
Unfortunately we kick-off our blog with a sad note. Artist Arcangelo Ianelli, 86, passed away this last Tuesday. Ianelli was one of the most respected contemporary artists from Brazil with works displayed in art museums throughout the world.
In the course of a career of 60+ years that he began as a self-taught draftsman, Ianelli produced paintings, sculptures and illustrations. Initially his painting was figurative and portrayed cityscapes, seascapes and scenes from everyday life in a range of subdued tones. From there it went to informal abstraction in the 1960s, before landing in geometric abstraction with overlapping and interpenetrating monochromatic squares that form tonal fields.
Arcangelo Ianelli showed his work in group exhibitions that included eight editions of the renowned São Paulo International Biennial as well as in solo exhibitions throughout Brazil and beyond, in Bonn, Berlin, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Rome, and Washington, D.C.
Vidrotil is honored to have taken part in Ianelli’s portfolio. In the early 90’s, the artist adapted his geometric abstraction in the creation of the design that guided the assembly, at the Vidrotil mosaic workshop, of the glass mosaic mural you see in the picture above.
With this short note, we pay a tribute to Arcangelo Ianelli. Brazil lost one of its greatest masters – an artist who left a formidable body of works that will be appreciated by generations to come.
Why did we decide to create a blog to talk about Vidrotil? Well… Mainly it’s because we love our glass tiles and we love the creative things that people do with our mosaics. We are not ashamed of that…
The other reason is that, after 60+ years of producing handcrafted glass tiles and customizing installations, there are some nice stories to be told. Here, we will talk about projects we like a lot and creations we are proud to have been a part of. From beautiful mosaic murals to award winning projects, we intend to feature weekly notes to tell our story, one post at a time.
Finally, we will be keeping you up-to-date with what we are doing, so feel free to post your comment or rss us. Izabel and I will be around to answer your questions. Having said this, make yourself at home and enjoy our blog!