Zanini de Zanine: The Sound of Wood
February 10 - April 21, 2022
64 White Street
On the twentieth anniversary of his practice, R & Company presents its first exhibition of works by renowned Brazilian designer, Zanini de Zanine. Opening on February 10, 2022, the exhibition will feature a selection of sensuous, monumental benches, chairs, stools, and other objects made from felled trees, repurposed wood, and reclaimed materials. Zanine’s works capture a connection between the natural and the manmade, as he amplifies organic lines and forms through skilled craftsmanship and a conceptual vision. Zanine’s practice embraces and extends certain traditions of Brazilian modern design grounded in a spiritual and physical relationship with nature, an awareness and response to the environmental impact on the country’s lush landscapes, and a commitment to engaging with sustainable materials. The exhibition will remain on view through April 22, 2022, at the gallery’s 64 White Street location.
The exhibition builds on R & Company’s long-standing commitment to the study and presentation of Brazilian design, with which the gallery’s co-founders Zesty Meyers and Evan Snyderman first became engaged in the late 1990s. Over the course of two decades, R & Company has significantly expanded scholarship and international market interest in Brazilian design through publications and exhibitions, including numerous shows featuring Zanine’s father, the renowned architect and designer José Zanine Caldas. Zanine’s practice builds on his father’s legacy—in instances using salvaged materials from demolished homes by Caldas—while also carving a new trajectory for himself that embraces ceramics, woven textiles, and other, sometimes unexpected, materials, and experiments with more streamlined and linear aesthetic articulations.
The works in this show demonstrate Zanine’s insightful and inspired aesthetic. Two three-legged benches, each made with legs in ipê wood salvaged from demolished Caldas-designed homes and distinctly topped with maçaranduba or piquiá wood, capture the range and dexterity of Zanine’s approach. Also included in the exhibition are several lounge chairs and stools that are more geometric in shape. These angular designs recall classic Mid-Century Modern forms, while their polished finish suggests solidity, monumentality, and kinship between materials. One of the lounge chairs, made from sustainably sourced Piquiá wood and a highlight of the show, conveys the sensation of being cradled within a large tree trunk, as the sitting space is carved out from within the tree, exposing the natural beauty of it’s rings.
Two wall hangings are also included in the exhibition. Woven from cane of tucum palm trees, the textiles mirror the organic and geometric forms of Zanine’s furniture, but offer a new articulation of the designer’s vision. This is also true of Zanine’s featured ceramic vessel, which, with its large scale, parallels the solidity and shape of some of his wooden stools and chairs, but offers a different tactility and aesthetic experience.
Zanini de Zanine was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1978, and learned from an early age, through his father, to respect natural materials and natural forms. He subsequently trained with designer Sergio Rodrigues, with whom he first collaborated to produce furniture. After graduating from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in 2002 with a degree in Design, Zanine began charting his own path. Since then, he has produced furniture and other design objects using an array of materials, from reclaimed or sustainably sourced wood to plastic, metal and other discarded consumer products. His work has been exhibited at prestigious institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Arts and Design.