Lina Bo Bardi
Posted on 18 April 2016
Lina Bo Bardi, née Achillina Bo, was one of the most expressive architects and designers of the 20th Century. She always put people at the centre of her designs - considering how buildings are received, not only by the environment but the individuals who use them thus promoting the social and cultural potential of architecture and design.
Born in Italy, Bo Bardi studied architecture at the University of Rome before moving to Milan after her graduation in 1939. She worked with architect Carlo Pagani before beginning her collaboration with architect and designer Giò Ponti on the magazine Lo Stile. In 1942, at the age of 28, she opened her own architectural studio on Via Gesù, Milan, but the lack of work during wartime soon led to her to taking up illustrating for newspapers and magazines.
In 1946 she married the art critic and journalist Pietro Maria Bardi, with whom she would move permanently to Brazil. Whilst in Brazil’s capital city Bo Bardi was heavily influenced by the lush tropical landscape juxtaposed against modernist constructions. She began to study Brazilian culture from an anthropological perspective and found particular interest in the convergence of art with popular traditions. One could call her a modernist as she used simple materials, plain concrete and glass, but she also embraced the traditional cultures of her adopted country and added mud and straw to her repertoire.
Bo Bardi designed modern furniture in plywood and native Brazilian woods (which she admired for their inherent strength and beauty), she believed that every designed object ought to take on a form that would display its own "natural logic”. Bo Bardi's most famous furniture design is her upholstered Bowl Chair on a metal frame which she conceived in 1951.
During the 1950s Bo Bardi began to really make her mark on the world. She started the magazine Habitat in 1950 and one year later designed her iconic home ‘The Glass House’. Her home was, and still is, considered as one of the paradigmatic works of rationalist art in Brazil. In 1957 Bo Bardi began construction of the new Museum of Art Sao Paulo (MASP), where she made the pioneering decision to suspend the building above a town square.
Often overshadowed by more flamboyant architects and designers, Sarah Bond felt Bo Bardi’s work should be celebrated in the manner it deserves. The Sarah Bond Bo Bardi Coat (available in Navy/Pink and Black) pays homage to her expressive use of lines and colour and her minimalist, yet iconic, structures.
Bo Bardi’s influence on the world architecture inspired the set up of the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi in 1990, to promote the study of Brazilian culture and architecture and to preserve and publicise the work and thinking of Lina Bo and Pietro Maria Bardi.