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Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Joaquim Tenreiro (Portugal and Brazil, 1906–92)

The Portugese-born furniture designer Joaquim Tenreiro was a pioneer of modernism in Brazil, where his work paved the way for the successes of such mid-20th-century design greats as Sergio Rodrigues, Jorge Zalszupin, and Lina Bo Bardi, an Italian-Brazilian architect whose futuristic São Paulo buildings are only part of her legacy. Tenreiro’s chairs, tables and cabinets are known for their simplicity of line and an elegance that is enhanced by the use of richly grained South American hardwoods such as jacaranda and imbuia. 


Tenreiro’s father and grandfather were both master woodworkers, under whom he trained in the craft. He had artistic leanings and in the late 1920s enrolled as a university student at the School of Arts and Crafts in Rio de Janeiro, where he joined a group of upstart modernists protesting the staid, retrograde curriculum at the college. At the time, Brazil was culturally mired in a 19th-century mindset that was reflected in an upper-class preference for academic painting and reproduction furnishings in antique European styles. But the progressive spirit that Tenreiro and his colleagues fostered slowly gained force. With the terms “lightness” and “functionality” as his bywords, Tenreiro opened a furniture-design business in 1943, where one of his first clients was the legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer. The arrival of Brazil’s first democratically elected government, in 1945, lent modernism official sanction, which culminated in the construction of the new capital, Brasília. Tenreiro eventually stepped away from design in the late 1960s to devote his time to sculpture and painting. 


To appreciate how revolutionary Tenreiro’s work seemed, one must imagine the heavy, ornately carved, deeply varnished furniture that was the standard for top-end Brazilian interior design in the 1930s. Tenreiro’s chairs and sofas employed slender, softly angular frames that were only lightly stained to highlight the grains of the local woods. He preferred chairs and chaises with caned seats and backrests that “breathe” in the tropical climate, and as a carpenter and joiner he wanted to show off the beauty of Brazilian wood. Two versions of a three-legged side chair introduced in 1947 serve as a veritable manifesto for a new age in Brazilian design: Using the stack-lamination technique, Tenreiro bonded together a gently contoured seat made of alternating layers of different-colored native woods to produce a magnificent stripe effect. These chairs, like all Tenreiro works, demonstrate the enduring power of simple design and superb construction — with a teaspoon of flair.


Iconic Designs from Joaquim Tenreiro
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Cadeira Curva Chair
Cadeira Curva Chair
Modulated Sofa
Modulated Sofa
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Joaquim Tenreiro Pair of Armchairs, Brasil, 1954
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Joaquim Tenreiro Pair of armchairs Manufactured by Tenreiro Moveis e Decoraçaos Brasil, 1954 Cabreuba, upholstery From the archives of Side Gallery, Barcelona Measurements ...
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Fabric, Wood

Joaquim Tenreiro Pair of Armchairs Model “Concha” Brasil, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Fabric, Wood

Joaquim Tenreiro Pair of Armchairs Model “Leve”, Brasil, 1942
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1940s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Fabric, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro, Set of 8 Chairs Variant of the “Cadeira baixa para quarto”
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Joaquim Tenreiro, (1906-1992) Rare set of 8 chairs variant of the “Cadeira baixa para quarto” Manufactured by Tenreiro Moveis e Decoraçaos Brasil, 1950 Jacaranda wood and cane ...
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Cane, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro, Set of Eight Dining Room Chairs, Brasil, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Cane, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro Three-Seat Sofa, Brazil, 1954
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Joaquim Tenreiro Three seats sofa Manufactured by Tenreiro Moveis e Decoraçaos Brazil, 1954 Jacaranda, upholstery From the archives of Side Gallery, Barcelona Measurements: ...
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Fabric, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro Single Armchair Model “Redonda”, Brasil, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Fabric, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro Two Seats Bench, Brasil, 1958
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Cane, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro Side Table, Brazil, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Joaquim Tenreiro Side table Manufactured by Tenreiro Moveis e Decoraçoes Brazil, 1950 Jacaranda, glass From the archives of Side Gallery, Barcelona Measurements 75 cm x 50...
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Glass, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro Buffet/Side Board, Jacaranda (rosewood) wood, Brazil, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Joaquim Tenreiro Buffet Manufactured by Tenreiro Movèis & Decorações Brasil, 1950 Jacaranda (rosewood) wood From the archives of Side Gallery, Barcelona Measurements: 200 cm x 45 c...
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee Table, Brasil, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Marble, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro Four Seats Sofa, Brasil, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Fabric, Wood

Joaquim Tenreiro Three-Seat Sofa, Brasil, 1954
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Fabric, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro Pair of Armchairs Model “Leve”, Brasil, 1942
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1940s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Fabric, Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro, Side Table, Brazil, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Joaquim Tenreiro (1906–1992) Side table Manufactured by Tenreiro Moveis e Decoraçoes Brazil, 1950 Caviuna, Formica Measurements 78 cm diameter x 41 height cm 30.7 in diame...
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Formica, Wood

Joaquim Tenreiro, Pair of Armchairs, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro, Pair of Armchairs
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, Spain
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture

Materials

Iron

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