1. What is one person who, in the course of your professional life, has marked a trait in your personality that you feel distinguishes you to that day? How did you do it?
Great and strong women have marked my personality in some way. First of all, my mother Etel Carmona for her courage, her strength, her talent, her aesthetic vision and much more. The French designer Andrée Putman who I met a long time ago, right after I graduated in the 90s; I met her in Brazil and also a couple of times in Paris, where she showed me her atelier, her extraordinary work, took me around the Rive Gauche, made me look at Design, Light and Beauty from a different perspective. Our meetings influenced my decision to leave the financial market and devote myself to creativity, design, art and architecture.
2. Which destination would you suggest to our “creative minds” readers? Why?
I cannot name just one: Japan to experience beauty and time from a very different angle, Brazil to discover the greatness of nature, and Italy for its heritage, tradition and art.
3. When you travel, do you first think of places to visit or people to meet? What are your sources of inspiration when deciding what to see?
I definitely think about history, I record as much as possible about the place, its people, its origin, its architecture (historical and contemporary), its main artists – I also read books (all genres, including novels) about the place, I talk to locals and people who know the area in depth. I have the privilege of knowing many Brazilian ambassadors around the world, which is my secret source of high-quality information! It was like that in Japan, where we had the first exhibition on Brazilian design at the Official Residence in Tokyo, or in Lebanon, when I was invited as a speaker at the Art Fair, or in Korea and many other places.
4.We are used to associating a journey with a distant destination. This Covid has forced us to look for inspiration and pleasure even in places close to us. Within your Brazil, or your city, what is a place that adds a chapter to your story?
In Brazil, Inhotim, the most beautiful open-air museum in the world, a place I go to every year. It seems like another planet, its beauty is breathtaking.
5. You are an ambassador of the great masters of Brazilian design, but at the same time an explorer of the contemporary world. What do you think are the characteristics that the new generation of designers should have? Can you tell us a name in the world of furniture and one in the world of fashion to start following on Instagram?
Purpose, sustainability, innovation, collaboration – young designers need to address People and Planet and consider these two entities as one. The most interesting projects I’ve seen lately talk a lot about symbiosis, the deep integration/collaboration between different ecosystems, taking the sustainability of the planet seriously. To follow on Instagram, as far as design is concerned, I can suggest a name that for me speaks of the future and sums up all the fields and features that I consider crucial: the artist and Head of MIT media Lab, Neri Oxman (@oxmanofficial). For fashion, on the other hand, a Brazilian designer Paula Raia, who has incredible craftsmanship and uses refined fabrics. Her creations speak of the Brazilian heritage, of refinement and of being delicate and strong at the same time. (@paula_raia).
6. You are a strong woman who loves working with other women. What are the characteristics that attract you most in an all-female job?
Determination and passion.
7. She recently collaborated with Patricia Urquiola. The affinities are clear. What I’m curious about, however, is how you found out that you are different (and therefore what did you discuss the most)?
Her approach to colour, composition and proportion. To be able to apply her perspective aesthetics to our Brazilian design and production methods was incredible.
8. What is one record, by a Brazilian author, that makes you travel with your mind? A particular song that you love to listen to in your solitude?
Brazilian singer Elis Regina, and the song “Romaria”. I am passionate about Brazilian music in general, and Bossa Nova in particular.
9. Etel is Brazil. If it were not the “publisher” of Brazilian design culture, what other country could it be the publisher of? Why this choice?
Very difficult question. Brazil is our DNA, our essence, but maybe Mexico would be a country/culture I would like to promote and make known. Its architecture, craftsmanship and tradition are special.
10. What is an object in your home that you would never give up? What is the memory associated with it? Can you send us a photo taken by you?
My collection of tree sculptures by Brazilian artist José Bento. I have known him for more than 30 years and started my collection with a small tree, now I have an extraordinary “Forest” of his sculptures made from rare Brazilian woods.