José Zanine Caldas Pilao chair Brazil 1978






José Zanine Caldas

Portugal, 1919 – 2001
Architect, designer

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Very rare and early version of the famous Pilao chair designed by Jose Zanine Caldas, made in his own workshop in Nova Vicosa, Brazil 1978. Compared to other Pilao chairs, this one is made from a hollow tree trunk, indicating its very early origin. Later ones were mainly made of solid trunks. With original patina and shiny finish which was done over the years. Comes with Caldas certificate to authenticate the piece.


The Denuncia series by José Zanine Caldas, to which the Pilao chair belongs, carries a powerful message. Caldas was motivated to re-enter furniture design when he saw precious Atlantic Forest wood discarded during logging in Nova Viçosa. Drawing inspiration from local craftsmanship, he made sculptural, functional pieces that retained the wood’s natural characteristic, which became known as Protest Furniture. His intention was to value the wood and at the same time bring awareness to the deforestation process.

José Zanine Caldas (1919-2001) was a self-taught artist, designer, and architect from Belmonte, Brazil. For over a decade, he managed a workshop specializing in architectural scale models, producing over 500 models for renowned Brazilian architects like Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa. In 1949, he founded Fábrica Moveis Artísticos Z to create standardized plywood furniture for a broader audience. Feeling disillusioned with the company’s capitalist approach, Caldas closed the venture and relocated to the coastal suburb of Nova Viçosa. There, he started crafting furniture known as Móveis Denúncia, or protest furniture.


Drawing inspiration from local craftsmanship and natural resources, he often created large wooden pieces from a single tree trunk, showcasing the richness of the forest. Caldas was a radical creator, always striving to uncover essential aspects in each project, whether exploring the natural environment or conceptualising indoor spaces to engage the senses. His commitment to Brazilian craftsmanship and natural materials defined the character of his entire body of work.


José Zanine Caldas, page 264/265

Designer: Jos Zanine Caldas
Type: Pilao
Manufacturer: Caldas atelier
Year: 1978
Country: Brazil
Materials: Hardwood
Condition: Very good, original
Height: 80/55 cm
Width: 55 cm
Depth: 58 cm
Item nr: F21OK051

Holland / Belgium: € Free
Europe: € 150 - 500
Outside Europe: € 750 - 1250

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