Jorge Zalszupin’s furniture is a mixture of the highest quality materials and simplicity of form. Marble blocks co-exist with first-class wood in his pieces. With aesthetic minimalism, the designer incorporates an element of sensuality, seducing users with the soft, bold lines of his seats and tables.
Zalszupin was born in Poland in 1922, although his design career didn't start until after World War II, when he emigrated to Brazil. His collaboration with Oscar Niemeyer, a legend of Brazilian modernism, had a great influence on his aesthetics. He made his way to Brazil at the precise moment when the Brazilian form of modernistic architecture was being shaped by Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, and Lucio Costa. Zalszupin’s furniture fits perfectly with the style of this period in design. In his designs, Zalszupin blends simplicity of form with sensuality.
Materials of the highest quality are the essence of his design practice. The table Limestone is an example of such a project – one whose success is determined by the materials used. Its consists of two simple wooden pieces supporting a massive marble tabletop. Zalszupin lets the material speak for itself, and the only decorative element added are indents. He accentuates the encounter between marble and wood, creating an additional element of tension.
The Romana coffee table was based on a similar design. It has a long marble top affixed to thin, exquisitely curved wooden legs. In the Petalas series Zalszupin plays with an organic form inspired by flower petals. The idea works both as a large octagonal table as well as in a smaller one made of only four elements. The restrictive geometric form has been interpreted in a poetic way. Petalas tables are captivating due to their clever construction and sensual shape, bringing to mind some of Neimeyer’s architectural forms, for instance Palácio da Alvorada in Brasilia.
Zalszupin’s table Andorinha is another design inspired by nature – the shape of a swallow. He transforms this inspiration into a multifunctional table with ease, cutting out an opening in the tabletop in which he places a double ‘hanger’ – a newspaper holder. A newspaper holder also appears in his Onda bench. Its sensual lines hint at waves, although Zalszupin does not allow this inspiration to reach the realm of the obvious. The ergonomic waves of the seat are balanced by simple, straight metal legs, creating a contrast of both line and material.
His experiments of linking various materials have resulted in such projects like Veranda or 720. In both armchair designs, Zalszupin explores the possibilities of stretching leather over wooden frames. He exposes the connecting joints and elements of the armchairs' structures, creating an additional intriguing visual element which gives the chairs a nonchalant air.
In his flagship project entitled Dinamarquesa Zalszupin yet again plays with the idea of a wooden armchair structure and leather spread across the seat, yet this time placing a great emphasis on elegance and an immaculate silhouette. The attention to detail and quality of materials make the chair resemble a piece of jewellery: the lower part of its supporting legs are wrapped in what seem to be metal bracelets. The connecting joints are not exposed, yet there is a well thought-out frame and distinctively curved armrests. Dinamarquesa may be the embodiment of what is best in Zalszupin’s designs: where discipline meets the beauty of a liberated, clear line resulting in a harmonious whole which is full of emotion.
Author: Agata Morka, August 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska, August 2015
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