by Felipe Meres
São Paulo design duo Luciana Martins and Gerson de Oliveira of Ovo have recently released Mobiliário_OVO, a book about their furniture design, iconic objects and art projects. For more than a decade the designers have developed an array of exquisite and clever pieces that are at once elegant, humorous and casual.
Instead of choosing to order chapters chronologically, according to the functionality of the objects or by materials, the duo invited a team of creatives from different backgrounds and asked them to write about the pieces with one of the following themes in mind: Haikai, Addition, Action, Distraction, Space and Time.
Each chapter features an introduction to certain pieces accompanied by a critical or poetic text by one of the invited authors. Art historian Rodrigo Naves reflects on how the duo’s work both incorporates and criticizes modernist aspects. The historian identifies in the “Intervalos” tables a combination of the tonal delicacy of Morandi with the constructive enigmas of Willys de Castro. Art critic and architect Guilherme Wisnik highlights the importance of the user in the formation of Ovo’s works. For instance, the “Cadê” chair is directly shaped by through contact with the body.
Artist Ana Maria Tavares and art theorist Martin Grossmann question how design as a discipline challenges convictions and certainties, considering how its history is imbued with preoccupations about productivity and efficacy. Together, they point out possible genealogies behind some of the pieces by Ovo. In their analysis of the Ciranda bench the authors draw parallels to Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s work “Nightsea Crossing” (1981—1987), where the artists sat on opposite sides of a table and stared at each other for an epic 90 days over the course of several performances.
By structuring the book around third-party reflections on the execution of the practice, readers are given greater proximity to Ovo’s creative process. Besides extensive photography, the book also presents a comprehensive timeline of the designers’ career span.
The book will be available next month in both English and Portuguese directly from Ovo online.