Designer Rodrigo Almeida has approached his career in way that’s completely opposite from most designers. He sees technical wizardry as a crutch, so he skipped school altogether. The objects he makes are all about craft–but unlike his Dutch peers, Almeida’s stuff isn’t cutesy or arch. His work is steeped in Brazilian culture, and as a result, it possesses a rootedness that’s rare in contemporary design.
One example above: For his Bichos collection, Almeida created a stool using paper and beef tripe, which is almost like leather when dried. (The tripe is the honeycomb texture, topping the stool.) It wasn’t just a strange experiment: Beef tripe is a common ingredient in traditional Brazilian cookery.
Below, a series of chairs inspired by the racial miscegenation that makes Brazil so utterly unique. The colors hark back to traditional African motifs–a huge influence on Afro-Brazilian music and culture–but they’re made of haphazard DIY materials that evoke favelas: