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Branco e Preto

São Paulo 1950. In a time when communication wasn’t abundant and import was still rare, a group of young architects and idealists gathered to solve a new problem. How to decorate the projects that came out of the group's drawing boards with furniture that represented the architecture they practiced.

Enthusiastically they welcomed the idea of group member Roberto Aflalo: to create a store and studio that would sell furniture with a modern design, while using Brazilian raw material and making sure it had an impeccable finish.

The name they decided upon was Branco e Preto (White and Black), colors that would also often be featured in their fabrics made especially for the store by the Lanfício Fileppo factory. It’s founders: Jacob Ruchti, Miguel Forte, Plínio Croce, Roberto Aflalo, Carlos Milan and Chen Y Hawa. All but the latter alumni of the Mackenzie Engineering School.

And so in december 1952 the Branco e Preto store opened in the city centre of São Paulo. For its opening the group not only created furniture, but also curtains, lamps, carpets and the likes. Following the idea of rank Lloyd Wright, who created houses from the inside out, that furniture is a "complement of architecture”.

With it’s high prices and focus on the elite of São Paulo, the store often catered to customers who had their homes specifically created by one of the group's architects and the furniture was often designed or adapted with a specific residence in mind. Brazilian woods were combined with glass, iron, formica and calacatta marble.

Made in a rational and geometric way, the furniture of Branco e Preto has a very characteristic lightness and simplicity. Like so many Brazilian furniture brands, it never had industrial production and as a result everything was made by hand.

Some of the most famous designs of the group are the MF5 armchair, designed by Carlos Millan and Forte, the R3 armchair by Jacob Ruchti and the M3 sofa by Carlos Millan, all from 1950’s. ~HG.