Geraldo de Barros
Geraldo de Barros was born in 1923 in Xavantes, a city in the country side of São Paulo, and died in April 1998, at the age of 75, in the capital . His life was dedicated to art and design, activities which he treated as it was one.

His intellectual increase was based on studies in groups of painters who were called “workers”, for they dealt with painting as a craftwork and a way of social upgrade through intellectual distinction, even in the 40´s. He developed his studies also in contact with concrete art – objective, almost “cientific” – through Pietro Maria Bardi, Mário Pedrosa and Max Bill´s works.

Holder of a temper wich was at a time popular and lettered, Geraldo de Barros joined a Dominican friar, an engineer and a carpenter and, in august 1954, they founded Unilabor, a manufacture of modern furniture, which operated on a self management, as a cooperative. As a result of this partnership, between 1954 and 1967 they developed a collection of modular modern furniture, successfully sold in their stores on Rua Augusta e Praça da República, important addresses at that time.

In 1964, Geraldo de Barros left Unilabor and founded, with other partners, the Hobjeto. In the new company, he experienced processes and techniques present in mass production: he used materials as plywood, chromed iron tubes, enamel and polyurethane, created satellite companies in order to subsidize the production of the head office and invested in advertising. Summarizing: he diversified, increased and consolidated his experience as a designer.

Hobjeto was a business and commercial success during a great part of its existence; however, it didn´t resisted Geraldo´s absence, who gradually departed since 1982 for health problems. The company ended up it´s activities in 1997. To Geraldo de Barros the company was, as Unilabor, a live exercise of art integrated into the design.

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Text: Mauro Claro
Illustration: Julio Dui
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