As the world turns its focus to Rio this weekend for the long-awaited start of the Olympic Games, we thought it was only fitting to call upon a proud Brazilian and long-time friend of The Conran Shop (who also happens to know a thing or two about one of the main events).
From the architecture to the fashion industry, growing up in São Paulo undoubtedly served as inspiration for Lorenzo Martone, the founder of Martone Cycling. So this week, we spoke to the man behind the world’s chicest bicycles about the Olympics, fantasy cycling partners and the influence of his Brazilian background.
- Which three words would you use to describe Brazil and the Brazilian lifestyle?
Joy, Lush, Passion.
- Have any Brazilian designers inspired you?
Yes - I enjoy the architecture and simplicity of Oscar Niemeyer, but also enjoy the fashion sense of Oskar Metsavaht from Osklen. Both have in different ways used Brazil’s DNA in a modern way when creating work - that is in buildings or clothes.
- What are you favourite Brazilian hot spots?
Actually a restaurant called SPOT in São Paulo is one of my favourites, I also like Fasano Hotel (both in São and Rio) and Nagayama – a delicious Japanese spot in Jardins, São Paulo.
- If you had to cycle across Brazil on a tandem bike, who would you bring with you and why?
My dog Mia - she is the perfect company: cosy, furry and very quiet.
- Are you excited that the Olympics will be held in Brazil this year?
So excited. I remember from an early age being aware of the transformation Barcelona went through to host the Olympics in 1992 - and I thought it would be so cool if it happened in Brazil. The Olympics are one of the most traditional events in the world - I like the ceremonial aspect of it. It brings people together in a competitive yet healthy way, which is a very interesting dynamic.
I do hope it changes Brazil forever. I think foreigners were very scared when the World Cup in 2014 was held there - but everyone came back so happily surprised with the organisation and the safety - and of course the beauty of the country. I hope the Olympics reflects that even more on a larger scale!
- Have you brought any aspects of Brazilian culture into your day-to-day life outside of your home country?
I guess I do try to keep a smile even through hard moments - the joyful part of Brazilian life. And of course I drink lots of coffee - but I guess that's become everyone’s addiction. The one habit I made sure to forget or leave behind was the typical “15 minutes late” Brazilian thing, I had to learn that 1pm is 1pm - not 1:15pm!
- What is your fondest memory of growing up in Brazil?
I think the summer vacations on the beach. My family had a second home just two hours away from São Paulo where I grew up - and as you can imagine - living in a city with 18 million inhabitants means I was locked up basically all day. So being at the beach house meant purely freedom, being outside, being able to run and bike and play without having to worry about cars or violence.
My background is Italian, so another really good memory I have are the Sunday lunches at Grandma’s - always the most fresh tomato spaghetti one could find in the neighbourhood. I guess any memory involving food becomes a favourite of mine!