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Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee and Cocktail Tables

Brazilian, Portuguese, 1906-1992

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 vintage tables, chairs and storage 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.

Find vintage Joaquim Tenreiro furniture on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Joaquim Tenreiro
Pair of Mid-Century Modern Side tables by Joaquim Tenreiro, Brazil, 1960s
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Miami, FL
Pair of Mid-Century Modern side tables by Joaquim Tenreiro, Brazil, 1960s Pair of side tables manufactured by Joaquim Tenreiro in the 60's in Brazil. Made of solid wood with nesti...
Category

1960s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee and Cocktail Tables

Materials

Glass, Wood

Coffee Table by Joaquim Tenreiro, 1950, Brazil
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in PARIS, FR
A marble and wood coffee table by Joaquim Tenreiro. The aesthetic characteristics of the table are modernist legs in the shape of an ellipse, a flush construction of the marble top w...
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1950s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee and Cocktail Tables

Materials

Marble

Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee Table
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in San Francisco, CA
Joaquim Tenreiro coffee table, Tenreiro Moveis E Decoracoes, Brazil, solid jacaranda, marble. Signed with partial decal manufacturer' s label to underside: [Tenreiro Moveis E Decor...
Category

1950s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee and Cocktail Tables

Materials

Marble

Caviuna Table by Joaquim Tenreiro, 1950s, Brazilian Midcentury Design
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Clifton, NJ
This stunning Caviúna piece was designed by Joaquim Tenreiro and produced in 1968 by one of his companies, located in Rio de Janeiro. Its simple design stands out with the subtle det...
Category

1960s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee and Cocktail Tables

Materials

Wood

Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee Table, Brasil, 1950
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, ES
Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee table Manufactured by Tenreiro Moveis e Decoraçoes Brazil, 1950 Jacaranda wood, marble “beige snake” From the archives of Side Gallery, Barcelona Meas...
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1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro Coffee and Cocktail Tables

Materials

Marble

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Joaquim Tenreiro coffee and cocktail tables for sale on 1stDibs

1stDibs has Joaquim Tenreiro coffee and cocktail tables available for sale. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. There are many choices in our Joaquim Tenreiro coffee and cocktail tables collection, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In-stock we have 4 vintage editions of these items, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many of Joaquim Tenreiro's original coffee and cocktail tables were created in Mid-Century Modern style in South America during the mid-20th century. Many customers also consider coffee and cocktail tables by José Zanine Caldas, L'Atelier San Paulo and Branco & Preto. The prices for Joaquim Tenreiro coffee and cocktail tables can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $20,000 and tops out at $56,040, while pieces like these can sell for $47,000 on average.

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