Designer and architect Jorge Zalszupin, whose birth centenary is celebrated this year
Designer and architect Jorge Zalszupin, whose birth centenary is celebrated this year. Photo: Personal collection

One of the exponents of the generation of architects who worked between the 1950s and 1980s in the fields of design and Brazilian architecture, the Polish-born Brazilian Jorge Zalszupin was born on June 1, 1922, in Warsaw. In 1945, he graduated in architecture in Romania, and in 1949 he came to Brazil, still fleeing the persecution of Jews in his country. He left us in August 2020.

Now, almost two years later, three exhibitions celebrate the centenary of his birth, which reveal different facets of his diverse production, which was not limited to modern furniture, with which he gained more notoriety in recent years after a consistent work of rescuing his memory and the re-edition of its products, a project led by businesswoman and curator Lissa Carmona, from the ETEL gallery.

Until the 4th of September, the exhibition Synthetic Organic: Zalszupin 100 Years happens simultaneously in Brazilian House Museum (MCB), curated by MCB coach Giancarlo Latorraca, and at Zalszupin House, curated by Lissa and Professor Guilherme Wisnik. The show features unpublished creations from Zalszupin's collection, such as personal items, such as an illustrated joke book. The research work was supported by museologist Nathalia Reys, in partnership with the designer's family. Regarding books, the reprint of the out-of-print book on Jorge Zalszupin is planned for the second half of the year, with unprecedented content on his architectural work.

At the MCB, new aspects of Zalszupin's work are being presented, linked to the industrial production of his company L'Atelier (1959–1988), to the plastic utensils from the series Eva and office furniture series. His work as an architect will also be rescued at the museum, showing some buildings he designed on Avenida Paulista, in downtown São Paulo and in the neighborhood of Higienópolis.

At Casa Zalszupin, a house designed by Jorge himself, and where he worked and lived for over 60 years, the focus is on its residential architecture, marked by an expressionist organicity, with curved volumes and thick, white walls. Photos by Nelson Kon and unpublished sketches help to better understand this facet of his. The space also houses some furniture by Zalszupin that were part of the house itself, such as his emblematic Danish armchair, the ETEL reissue of his Ondine armchair and the last piece he created for the brand, the Verônica armchair. There are also works of art by Almeida & Dale, by artists such as Tongue, Anna Maria Maiolino, Laura Vinci e José Resende, which speak to the designer's aesthetic.

Managed by ETEL and the Almeida & Dale gallery, the House was opened last year and has been holding various exhibitions, in which dialogues are sought with works of art from the gallery's collection, the architecture of the residence and furniture by Zalszupin, or even from other designers, such as Claudia Moreira Salles, who exhibited her creations there, between emblematic pieces and launches, until the end of May.


Until the 3rd of September, the recently opened Galeria Teo – a space dedicated to treasures from great names in modernist design, from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s – also pays homage to Zalszupin’s 100th birthday with an exhibition. The expography is signed by Teo Vilela Gomes, entrepreneur in charge of Casa do Teo, which turns 2022 in 15, and by the architect and graphic designer Claudio Novaes. The exhibition houses 40 pieces of furniture by the designer, originals and certificates, part of the gallery's own collection, and another part provided by collectors for the period of the show.

The selection features solid Bahia rosewood furniture and curved rosewood furniture made from laminated plywood, a technique that Zalszupin has improved in his creations. In the details, emphasis is given to the chrome metal and brass finishes. It is also worth mentioning the elegant execution of the tapestry of all the pieces, many finished with rosewood buttons, seams and topstitching.


Synthetic Organic: Zalszupin 100 years
Until September 4th

Brazilian House Museum (MCB): Brig. Faria Lima, 2705 – São Paulo (SP)
Visitation from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 18 pm, with the exception of Friday, which has extended hours until 22 pm
Tickets: R$20 and R$10 (half-price); on fridays, free admission

Zalszupin House:
Jardim Europa (shared address after scheduling the visit)
Visitation from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 18 pm, and on Saturdays, from 10 am to 14 pm
Free admission by prior appointment on the website 

Jorge Zalszupin Centenary Exhibition
Until September 3th
Theo Gallery: Rua João Moura, 1298 – São Paulo (SP)
Visitation from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 18 pm; Saturday, from 10 am to 14 pm
Free admission

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