ICONS OF BRAZILIAN MODERNISM

Cadeira de Três Pés (Three Legged Chair) is a design work of sculptural quality, resulting from the juxtaposition of five native woods from Brazil. The trapezoidal design of Cadeira de Três Pés comes from a unique piece that shapes both its seat and backrest with rounded edges, molded in curves, one of Brazilian modernism favorite themes.

By combining five distinct native woods from Brazil, Tenreiro masterfully creates parallel and rhythmical lines that further elevate the fluidity of the chair’s structural curves, complemented by the elegance of the three legs in conic shape, tapered at its base.

The seeming simplicity of this three legged chair reveals a skillful execution and complex geometrical formulation, through which Joaquim Tenreiro produced a timeless work of art, an iconic Brazilian modernist design that’s still relevant 70 years later.

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Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992)
Portuguese-born designer, Brazil

It was not I who created the modern furniture piece, I’ve sought to give a modern character to Brazilian furniture. I created stripped and clean furniture, taking into account the Brazilian artisanal tradition.”

Joaquim Tenreiro, 1985

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Considered to be the pioneer of Brazilian modernist mid-century furniture, Portuguese-born designer Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992) came from a family of carpenters, developing woodworking skills and techniques early on, which he would later apply on his design production upon moving to Brazil in 1928.

Concluding his artistic formation in Rio de Janeiro’s Academia Nacional de Belas Artes, the design engaged with modernist artists groups whose ideals were opposed to those of the traditional philosophy of the Academy. 


While furthering his connections in the modernist art world, Joaquim Tenreiro’s career took off with the help of Brazilian modernist master Oscar Niemeyer, who would later invited Tenreiro to work on one of Niemeyer’s own design projects. 


Tenreiro also collaborated with important Brazilian furniture design companies such as Laubisch-Hirth, which gave him the unique opportunity to showcase his pursuit towards Brazilian furniture and modernist design.


Much like Niemeyer’s prestigious design, Joaquim Tenreiro developed an original, simple, curvy and light design production, shaping modernist furniture design in Brazil and launching his design firm. One of the most outstanding examples of Joaquim Tenreiro’s design philosophy and expertise is Cadeira de Três Pés.