José Zanine Caldas (1919-2001) was a self-taught artist, designer and architect from Belmonte, Brazil.
For over 10 years he ran a workshop specialising in architectural scale models, where he developed over 500 models for top Brazilian architects including Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa. In 1949, Caldas created the Fábrica Moveis Artísticos Z to produce standardised plywood furniture for a wider public.
Tired of the capitalist approach of the company, he put an end to the venture and moved to the coastal suburb of Nova Viçosa. There he began to create furniture that was later called Móveis Denúncia – protest furniture. Inspired by both the local craftsmanship and the natural resources of the area, his large wooden pieces were often made from a single tree trunk. Caldas was demonstrating for future generations the variety and magnificence of the forest.
Caldas was a radical creator. His work always aimed to find essentialist aspects at the root of each of his projects, whether in the exploration of the natural environment or his conceptualisation of indoor space as a synergy of the senses. His engagement with Brazilian craftsmanship and natural materials underlies the character of all his work.
ADDED TO YOUR BASKET