We interview award-winning Brazilian designer Jader Almeida ahead of London Design Festival, where a selection of his key pieces will feature in #TheConranShopEdit. The modernist Licce Armchair and CIGG Side Tables are exclusive to The Conran Shop in the UK and France, and reflect his deep appreciation of the finest materials. Shop Jader's full collection here.
Firstly, a quickfire round – get to know Jader in 60 seconds…
Town or country?
Would you prefer a magazine subscription or a DVD box set?
Champagne & caviar or coconut water & a super-food salad?
Coconut water & a super-food salad
Dawn or dusk?
What was the last film you saw?
I like sci-fi in general
What, if anything, do you collect?
I am not a collector of anything significant, only small souvenirs
Would you rather have the power to travel back in time or see the future?
See the future
Best invention of all time?
And now to delve a little deeper…
How did you start out in design?
It was in my teens. First, I took some technical courses in vocational schools, such as electrical and parts drawing. However, since my childhood, I always wanted to work in something related to projects, design etc. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said a fashion designer, architect or engineer. When I was a child, everything was pretty much the same thing: to design.
When I went to vocational school, I knew that this was the way to follow. Therefore, I worked in an industry by invitation of a cousin, who was industrial manager. At the time, I was 16 years old. After that, it was natural. I chose to go to architecture school, because I would have opportunities to work in different scales.
What has been the biggest influence on your work?
I usually say that the macro culture and experiences influence me. I observe many areas of creation such as fashion, photography, film, design and architecture, for example. In my point of view, everything is related and somehow it affects me.
How would you describe your style?
Perennial. I like the idea of longevity, continuity.
What does great design mean to you?
The answer may seem an old cliché, but it is that which transcends time and becomes an affective memory. An example could be the paper clip or Bic pen.
You started working in the industry at a relatively young age, how would you say your work has evolved?
I believe that starting at a young age was very important for me. To know the process, how things work and how to perform the operations, gave me the base and security to start to design my first pieces.
Evolution for me is a constant. Every new project has addition of new ‘layers’, the result of constant research and experience.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The people I’ve met, because in some way they have helped me see further.
What advice would you give to emerging designers?
I don’t think there is formula or a single way to design. However, without pretense, I say belief and assurance in their own choices and also patience, they are the great allies of a successful way.
CIGG Side Tables
Your work balances Brazilian and Scandinavian design influences. What is it about both of these cultures that inspires you?
What strikes me in the Brazilian modernism masters and the Scandinavian designers, are the proportions, the shapes - often - organic, the balance, the harmony and the lightness of their products.
We’re thrilled to feature your Licce Armchair and CIGG Side Tables in #TheConranShopEdit during the London Design Festival. Could you tell us a little about these pieces?
The Licce Armchair is a pondered balance between past and present. I like to bring attention to the proportion, slightly reduced, which makes a subtle piece with a strong personality. Beyond the concept and shape, its function to accommodate the people, it is very well settled. People from different bio-types sit comfortably in it.
Materials such as brass and leather, they age in a beautiful way, and with the passage of time, the piece will remain elegant.
What will you be visiting during your trip to London for the festival? Where are your favourite destinations in the capital?
London is undoubtedly one of the most exciting cities in Europe. The cultural effervescence and diversity are very clear to me, I can always see things from another perspective. I like Covent Garden, Chelsea, the Design Museum, Tate and V&A Museum, just to name a few.
If money were no object, what would you buy from The Conran Shop?
An amazing selection of little things for work desks.