One of Brazil's most famous architects, Oscar Niemeyer was known for his sensuous, curvy and nature-inspired designs. He was a pioneer of global modernist architecture. During his prolific career, he created some of the most important works in the history of modern architecture. Niemeyer's signature designs are known for their distinctive, flowing lines and wide curves. With Brazilian Baroque swirling forms and curvy lines, Niemeyer changed the harshness of modernism with softness and comfort. Oscar's furniture design draws heavily on architecture – it was all about curves – flowing furniture designs that are comfortable, elegant and flush.
Born into an upper middle-class family in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1907, Oscar Niemeyer graduated from Escola Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro in 1934. Niemeyer began working for Lúcio Costa, a modernist architect in 1935.
In 1936, at the age of 29, Niemeyer joined a team of Brazilian architects to design the headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro, the first major modernist public building in Brazil. The team consisted of Le Corbusier, Lúcio Costa, Carlos Leon and other modernist architects.
Oscar Niemeyer was greatly influenced by the French architect Le Corbusier, who taught him many lessons. While Corbusier remains an important source of inspiration, Niemeyer never adopted the geometric forms and right angles adopted by Corbusier and Bauhaus members.
Gradually, Niemeyer acquired her own style - sinuous, lyrical and luxurious. Over the years, he has collaborated with Lúcio Costa on the Brazilian Pavilion for the New York World's Fair. He played an important role in the design of the United Nations headquarters.
Between 1956 and 1960, Niemeyer designed and developed Brazil's new capital, Brasilia. Brasilia is Niemeyer's most iconic design, characterized by curves. Brasilia became the only 20th century city to be recognized by UNESCO.
Political turmoil in Brazil forced Niemeyer into exile. While in exile in the 1960s, Oscar Niemeyer began designing furniture with his daughter, Anna Maria Niemeyer. The first piece created by the father-daughter duo was “Alta Chaise Lounge” and ottoman in 1971. The oversized chair and stool featured a curved steel frame mounted on wood and with leather upholstered seating and backrest.
In 1974, Oscar Niemeyer and Anna Maria designed the “Marquesa Bench” for Tendo. Brazil. The bench embodies elegant curves and curvy forms, reminiscent of Niemeyer's modern architecture.
One of the most famous pieces designed by the father-daughter duo is the 1977 “Rio Lounge Chair”. Inspired by the beauty of female curves and the mountains of Brazil, “Rio” features a flowing sole made of laminated wood and hand-woven raffia.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Niemeyer continued to design furniture for Tendo, Copacabana Hotel SESC, Estel, and a few other private clients. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 104.