Just in time for the commercial crush of New York Design Week, a rare exhibition of the furniture of Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi, paired with modern Brazilian artists of her era at Gladstone 64 on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, offers an oasis of serenity. The gallery occupies a townhouse that Edward Durrell Stone extensively renovated in 1956, then used as his home for several years, and it is particularly thrilling to see Bo Bardi’s work in a domestic setting.
Bo Bardi (1914-1992) was a pioneering modern architect and designer, known for her bold forms, cantilevered structures, and sensitivity to culture and landscape. She practiced primarily in Brazil, where she designed furniture in collaboration with Giancarlo Palanti under the name Studio d’Arte Palma. Using a variety of materials, Bo Bardi created furniture with dynamic shapes that suited her architecture.
This exhibition, the largest U.S. show of Studio d’Arte Palma’s work to date includes 20 pieces by Bo Bardi and Palanti, including tables, chairs, desks, stools, and a bench, alongside art by Lygia Clark, Sergio Camargo, and others.
Simone Battisti, a partner at Gladstone, sees it as the continuation of a 2018 exhibition in Milan, at Nilufar Depot Gallery, which also showcased Bo Bardi’s furniture. “As an important figure in the fields of art, architecture, design, writing, curating and set designing, we felt it was important to show Lina Bo Bardi’s work in New York,” the curator tells RECORD.
At the townhouse, one of Stone’s signature concrete screens shelters a monumental window facing the street. This intimate setting, supplemented by pristine white interiors, emphasizes the sculptural qualities of Bo Bardi’s furniture and her mastery of materials. Gladstone 64’s “famously narrow” footprint means that “the works are in close conversation,” says Battisti. “It creates an interesting visual dialogue that amplifies the significance of both Bo Bardi’s practice and the other artists who worked concurrently to her.”
The pieces on view demonstrate Bo Bardi and Palanti’s formal range and skill with a variety of materials including woods, leathers, metals, and fabrics. A delight to see, the show enriches our understanding of the depth and sensuality of Brazilian Modernism at all scales.
Lina Bo Bardi & Giancarlo Palati: Studio d’Arte Palma is on view through June 15.