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Blame It on Rio?

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Some people dream of having a big swimming pool. With me, it’s closets.” Were she still alive, Ornare’s closets would likely make the iconic actress swoon! The Brazilian company that migrated from South America to Miami is known for its exceptional detailing and luxurious appointments. A stroll through the Miami showroom brings great sensory pleasure. There’s something about the sleekly polished woods, which have managed to retain their textural personalities, combined with a peppering of undulant furniture that creates an air of allure.

I believe it’s safe to say that the populous of the vibrant country of Brazil can’t help but produce provocative products; and though Rio de Janeiro often gets blamed for Brazil’s tantalizing reputation, it’s not just the cariocas, or natives of Rio, that birth designs exuding sexy charm. São Paulo stakes its own claim here. During a recent trip to the city, Jason Richard Adams, director of Max Strang Architecture in Miami, noticed. “São Paulo was a city of absolute contrasts: lush rolling hillscapes with concrete towers rising up out of the canopy,” he explains. “There was a great vibe about the streets, and my favorite area was the libertage, or Japanese freedom district.”

He also noticed the sultry quality of the products being manufactured there. “What makes Brazilian design so inherently sexy is the mentality of the people,” he remarks. “They are in touch with nature, and prefer their designs to follow that path.”

Marcos Zucaratto, a Brazilian-born, Miami-based interior designer for Artefacto—a luxury Brazilian brand that has exploded in the U.S. in the past several years, couldn’t agree more. “We have so many natural resources that we work with, all of which link us to the organic,” he says. “We don’t limit our designs to straight edges; we create a balance between the organic, or natural elements, and the sensual.”

The designer believes that Miami is a great place for Brazilians to strut their stuff. “It’s a natural place for us to put our creativity out there,” he explains. “I am a true carioca—was born and raised in Rio, which is an incredible city full of contrasts and beautiful people. This helped me to be who I am, and it is my constant inspiration.”

Designer Thomas Bina, the creative director of Los Angeles-based Environment Furniture, is a native Angeleno, but he’s been living in Brazil for the past five years in order to cultivate resources and designer relationships. He spotted a green trend coming out of Brazil, which is why he moved there. As is the case with most other aspects of life there, the environmentally friendly products pouring out of the South American country are far from boring. Case in point is the Giramundo swivel chair, which is covered in yarn scraps that were collected in Rio. And who can forget the playful wares of the Campana Brothers with their knack for envisioning spirited environmentally friendly products?

Ornare has also made a commitment to sustainable design. “Their factories were impeccably clean, modern, and environmentally green in their re-use programs,” says Adams, who visited the company’s facilities while in Brazil. “As is the case with many of their products, the aspects I loved the most about Brazilian design was the use of reclaimed wood, and the stylistic ways architects and designers utilized this material.”

The company has just launched Linah, a new line of kitchen products, in the U.S. Why Miami for its first U.S. outlet? “Miami was a great choice because we felt that the city is home to the perfect combination of design innovation and luxury,” Ornare’s Director Esther Schattan remarks. “The city is filled with cosmopolitan citizens that are open-minded when it comes to embracing new ideas.”

Though certainly not a new idea, Adams’ last comment about the Brazilian’s penchant for the provocative is far from an afterthought: “It doesn’t hurt that there is an abundance of sexy people in that country!”