Archive for January, 2013

Brazil – São Paulo

January 31st, 2013
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Have you ever had an experience that touches your heart and soul in such away as to change your life forever? Words can not begin to describe the incredible experience that I have every time I’m in Brazil with the wonderful people that are found there. There is such a rich cultural mix of people from all around the world. Brazil has the second largest group of Japanese people in the world. Italians, Portuguese, German, Dutch, people from Africa just to mention a few, add to the flavor of this great community. Every person seems to work together. There is a certain type of acceptance that I’ve found there that  I wish could be found every where.


The traffic is amazing. Everyone seems to move around one another in a sort of shuffle moving forward allowing people to move in the direction that they need to go. The motor bikes move quickly between cars as if to connect people to the idea that there is a place for everyone.


It seems as if most of the people are aware that there is a higher power involved in their lives. I’ve seen mission statements on entry walls that give gratitude to their God. I wonder what would happen if we could all be so bold in declaring such a fact.

I have never had quite the experience where it seems that people genuinely love one another. Some of their terms of endearments are : “Um Grande Abracos”, “Beijos”, Mi Querido”. These phrases are used with such regularity as to create an atmosphere of brotherly love that we could all learn from. I am certain as with all big cities and peoples there are many problems and challenges  but with phrases used like these it helps to connect and turn people towards a better direction.


The tropics of Brazil and São Paulo more specifically reveal how nature works with the man made environment. Little flowers grow between concrete cracks as if to reveal how everything is connected to nature and the environment. São Paulo has millions of people in its various districts.  Challenges of pollution abound but it’s people are working together to create an environment for all to live.






I have been taught many great lessons from such a great place and people. Which  will forever change my life and to whom I will ever be grateful. Thanks to the people I have worked with Um Grande Abracos a tudos.

Paola is a Brazilian Architect who has worked with Skidmore Owings & Merrill as a consultant for their work in Brazil. Her creative design abilities and skill set make her a perfect fit as the link between Brazilian building officials and contractors. I asked Paola to teach us about some of the classically designed buildings that one would find in São Paulo and she took us to several wonderful sites: the railroad station, opera house, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo and Dalvae Dito. Three are historic buildings of classical design with great importance to the history of São Paulo. The fourth is an example of Brazilian cuisine from one of the premier chefs Alex Atala of Brazil (we were fortunate to meet him and he is another example of the finest in people from Brazil).



Paola has such grace and charm, she is wonderful to be around. She actually specializes in modern design but with such talents she understands the significance of classism in architecture. It had been eight years since we were together yet it seemed like it had only been months. Oh the Brazilians thanks for your wonderful influence.

Brazil – Sergio Loewe

January 30th, 2013
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Sergio Loewe is a fabric rep for several fabric manufactures, “gentle giant” is the only phrase that comes to mind to describe this fine man. I asked him to produce four different patterns varying color ways and custom designs. He was able to take these ideas and work with his designer to incorporate the designs into his system. Next he went off to his mill to machine loom each design to meet the “Double Rub” standard. With the help of his manufactures they were able to produce these designs for my approval in less than seven working days.. incredible yes.. Brazilian yes.. quality.. the finest.


This mans ability to discern and communicate to a staff of employees is impeccable. The mutual respect they each have for one another is a perfect example of a company working together. With this fine ability fabrics can be produced flawlessly. My time with Sergio was more than just working on fabrics, it was him teaching the fine ways of working with people. Fine threads woven to create beautiful fabrics and fine people woven to a beautiful company.
Thanks Sergio-

Brazil – Roberto Mitsuuchi

January 29th, 2013
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While in Brazil we had the chance to visit Roberto Mitsuuchi’s “Salon”. His shop is perfectly organized. He not only represents talented artists (like Alexandre Reider) but he has fabulous frames that can be custom fit to your art work. Roberto has a great assistant who helps to assemble the framing in a timely precise manner.


To add to his talent, Roberto also restores furniture. He has a sensitive feel for it. There are many times that after hours of painstaking work he discovers beautiful original details under layers of paint on the furniture. Classical designs are his strengths.

One of Roberto’s premier projects was working on the Opera House in Sao Paulo. He and his group were contracted to do all of the decorative restoration to this fabulous public space. He restored gold leafing, and the decorative painting. This was a noted project by the President of the state of São Paulo.

Roberto is a very quality minded professional. He is extremely personable and exemplifies a Brazilero exactly. It is always a pleasure to work with Roberto, he always has your best interests in mind.

The experience with Bruna and Juliana from Kika Chic cannot be expressed in words. The passion for what they create with drapery  is like watching a Broadway play unfold before your very eyes. Both of these lovely ladies come from Italy bringing with them a “hand” for fabric that only the Italians seem to have. Their construction techniques are impeccable and unsurpassed. From measurements to final installation the drapery’ flow with exactness. Their fabulous personalities and flamboyant mannerisms remind you of their homeland of Italy. Just like their sincere ways their draperies are meant to last a lifetime.

These wonderful women have followed the German traditions of their father in creating visual treats for the eye through art glass and mosaics. Mathilda and Yolanda’s father Ton came from Germany to establish his trade. Their father’s work has been written about in several books both on Brazil and in his home land.
Many artisans have been taught by this knowledgeable artist including his lovely daughters Mathilda and Yolanda. The designs that Yolanda creates are individual and unique. The utilization of sunlight creates a visual painting for all to behold. Each piece is hand drawn then computerized for exactness. Patterns are made and then once again the hand is used to finish off final details. Once the pattern is finished, glass is selected, cut and assembled with German precision. All the time wonderful Brazilian flora fauna abounds for inspiration.


The heritage of this third generation passementerie (trimmings) manufacturer is impeccable. These fine ladies have carried the traditions of a grandfather and father stemming all the way back from their Lebanese background. The grandfather was taught by French crafts people the trade of passementerie. Each piece begins with a combination of natural and man made fibers, utilizing the strength and visual contrast of each fiber strand. This final detail completes any piece of furniture or drapery giving it a wonderful custom personality.




Starting with a design the fibers are dyed, dried, and spun on to spools. Then each string is hand loomed on looms that are generations old. Now remember the ladies can actually take the fabric that the trim will be used on, determine the exact colors of the warp and weft, therefore; creating an exact color match. The color match is so precise that one would think that the trim is woven from the same thread of the original fabric.

I believe that design should be classically detailed and proportionally correct. With these principles in place, our living, working and religious environments enable us to have a rich cultural living experience. The talents of Silvia,  Magda and their staff make the final personality of our environment come to life.

Brazil – Alexandre Reider

January 23rd, 2013
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One thing I like about finding local sources here in Brazil is meeting the creative artists in their workspace. It is fascinating to observe the creation of each piece. This talented man at the age of 14 began learning of his talent with the brush. Years of apprenticing with his “master” enabled him to view the world that only a true artist can see. His ability to see shadows and depth when translated with oil enables the viewer to see the world in all if its beauty. His use of light, his perspective, his color creates a truly spiritual experience. From his German background to his Brazilian life style reminds the viewer of what life is all about. Alexandre is now 36, can you imagine how the depth of his artistry will be later in life? I felt so fortunate to have worked with such a talented man.