Out of stock
More filters
Sort by

Joaquim Tenreiro was born on April 26, 1906 in Melo, Portugal. After living life in both Portugal and Brazil, Tenreiro decided to move to Rio de Janeiro at the age of 22.

Following the trade of his Portuguese carpenter father and grandfather, Tenreiro continued to make furniture. Initially, he worked for various furniture companies such as Francisco Gomes, Leandro Martins, and Laubisch & Hirth, where he had to copy traditional European designs for his wealthy but conservative clients. A profession that Tenreiro disliked. But on a sunny day in 1943, life presented him with a bright opportunity.

While working at Laubisch & Hirth, a task came to design the furniture for a house by the rising star architect Oscar Niemeyer in Minas Gerais, Cataguases. Inspired by the modern design of the residence, Tenreiro broke tradition and boldly proposed furniture with a truly modern design. Niemeyer and his client, writer and industrialist Francisco Inacio Peixoto, were thrilled and Tenreiro's proposal was chosen for the project. Not only was this the first of many collaborations with Niemeyer, it also provided the validation Tenreiro needed as a designer. A year later he founded his own company, Langenbach & Tenreiro, and later followed by Tenreiro Móveis e Decorações.

Freed from the need to copy European styles, Tenreiro began working on his own vision: to modernize Brazilian furniture using Brazilian resources; wonderful wood species are combined with traditional materials such as Palhinha Indiana (woven cane). Thus, he began to create modern designs without excessive embellishment - according to the international trend - with a Brazilian spirit and character at its core.

The craftsmanship of his works was unmatched, as Tenreiro was exposed to woodworking techniques from an early age. Along with his perfectionism, Tenreiro has managed to achieve the highest quality known in South America. At the height of its success, shops in Rio de Janeiro and Sâo Paulo. From armchairs to tables to lamps, his countless designs have had their own trademarks and have been celebrated in Brazil by a small audience of front-runners seeking truly modern design.

Unfortunately, dark clouds gathered over Brazil and President Kubitschek's optimistic days ended, and so did the Bossa nova (new trend) and sense of endless opportunity when Brazil was taken over in a right-wing military coup in 1964. This was followed by repression and a deep economic crisis, with cultural bitterness and a very sour climate for design and business in general. These circumstances, and Tenreiro's strong personal feeling that he could no longer reinvent himself, caused him to decide to quit furniture making in 1968 and focus only on painting and sculpture making from then on.

Forgotten and some say a bit bitter, Tenreiro withdrew and lived a life of recluse throughout the 1970s and '80s. It finally received the recognition it deserved shortly before his death, when a retrospective exhibition was held in the design center of Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Joaquim Tenreiro left a unique legacy and is now considered by many to be the father of modern Brazilian furniture design.