Hugo França, Unique Monumental Coffee Table in Reclaimed Pequi Wood, Brazil 2005

$22,500

Hugo França (b. 1954)

A phenomenal, monumental oval coffee table by Brazilian woodworker Hugo França, in reclaimed pequi wood raised on four casters. Expertly crafted from a massive slab of Brazilian hardwood, salvaged from old-growth trees felled during Brazil’s rampant deforestation of the 1960s and 1970s, this one-of-a-kind table features a sensually rounded, smoothly polished base reminiscent of a boat hull. The flat polished top is cleaved by a striking bolt-like fissure, its craggy, sculptural texture like a turbulent undercurrent on a placid lake. The top’s fluid horizontal grain further contrasts with the knotty burls that pattern its sides. With a deep reverence for nature and a sensitivity finely tuned to enhancing its beauty, França has created a work at once deftly crafted, deeply primal, and intensely sculptural.

Born in Porto Alegre in 1954, França worked as an Industrial designer in São Paulo until 1981, when he moved into the jungles of Northeast Brazil. For 15 years, he lived with the indigenous Pataxó people in Bahia, learning generations-old woodworking techniques. During this period, he connected with the rainforests and developed a design philosophy embodying respect for the tree as both life force and functional object, at once aesthetically and historically significant.

Throughout his career, França has worked exclusively with reclaimed, indigenous Brazilian hardwoods. Using a labor-intensive, intuitive process, França creates unique, hand carved, and environmentally friendly designs hewn primarily from the pequi tree, a massive oleaginous species averaging 150 feet. França thoughtfully carves timber to expose new volumes, designs, and functions. The process yields timeless forms reminiscent of the sculpture of Constantin Brancusi and designs by Isamu Noguchi. Yet França arrived at his aesthetic in an independent, organic manner: It was only after returning from his first extended stay in the jungles near Bahia that he learned about the studio craftwork of contemporary designers like George Nakashima, Philip Lloyd Powell, and Jose Zanine Caldas. “My process is very intuitive,” França has said. “The main inspiration is each tree — not only because of its beautiful natural form, but also because it has a history.”

Piece unique.

Measurements: 66.5″ L x 35.25″ W x 13″ H.

  • Origin: Brazil
  • Period: 2005
  • Dimensions: 66.5" L x 35.25" W x 13" H
  • Materials: Pequi, steel
  • Condition: Very good refinished condition; wear consistent with age and use.

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