Monday, May 30, 2011

Interior Design - Goias Style - CASA COR GOIAS -

You know, there are many times in life when a brief thought passes though my brain “Maybe I have missed my calling”. Those times often occur when I am working around flowers, interior design, architecture, teachers, non profits, photos, events, marketing something, listening to music and watching television, just to name a few. OK – I am all messed up when it comes to my “life calling” so I will just keep taking the next step and trusting it is in the right direction. This statement is in no way foreshadowing a major life decision or change in occupations. It is merely my thoughts as I begin to write my blog about the CASA COR GOIAS. What is that you ask? It is an exposition of interior designers, landscapers, and architect that I had the privilege of attending while living in Goiania.

It was a beautiful Friday night and the plans were set. Our friend Aline was swinging by the pad to pick us up. We showered and donned our jeans and nice shirts for a cool evening on the town. (Luiz warned me it may be getting cool) She arrives right on time and we are off to see what lies ahead for us at the CASA COR GOIAS . -- This interior design/ architect showcase is celebrating its 15th year in Goias and 25th years country wide. With its theme “Day to Day with Technology” it promises to show us splendor, functionality, and intelligence with a hint of over indulgence. The exhibition is well known throughout Brazil as it holds similar expos in other cities throughout the country. In Goiania the show runs for 39 days (May 13 to June 21) and showcases 47 conceptual environments created by 66 professionals in the design community.

We stop to pick up Aline’s mom and off we head to the other side of town. Pleased that we find a parking spot relatively close (not very easy most of the time, like in most large metropolitan areas worldwide), we take the short block walk to the venue. Arriving at the Merzian Space (which is actually a space built by the Merzian construction company as a sales office) I find the venue very inviting with it large glass face and well landscaped front lawn. We pay our R$30.00 (which to me seemed quite inexpensive) and are ready to see what Goiania has to highlight regarding interior design.

Upon entering into the first room designed by: Fatimah Mosque, Marcia Albieri, Regina Amaral. We are slapped in the face with this year’s theme “Day to Day with Technology” (the good kind of face slap but a little over dramatic for reality). With its Alice in Wonderland overtones, the room is full of glowing furniture, television screens, fantastic effect lighting and funky colored accessories. A lounge of all lounges with its black and silver furniture, it was truly a great introduction to the event.

We walked through the rest of the show admiring all the creativity and adding some additional thoughts and ideas. Since I made a competition out of the wedding show in my last blog by choosing my top table design and then giving a nod for honorable mention. I thought about doing the same for this event. However, after the first three or four rooms, it was obvious the ranking would be impossible.  It was just too hard to pick one favorite as there were many that had elements which really caught my eye. Plus it was different rooms being designed and so that meant no apples to apples. I decided to pick a few of my favorite to highlight and you can decide which should take home tops honors.

The living room and kitchen designed by Genesio Maranhao was very intriguing to me. My first impression of the living room was that it felt cluttered as I love simple and clean lines, but as I spent a little time I came to enjoy it. Full of shelves filled with nic nacs for both use and the sheer pleasure of viewing. The white couches had beautiful pillows with a hint of pink adding just the right sprinkling of color to the black, brown, gray, and white surroundings. Then my eyes caught a glimpse of the kitchen area. Hidden off in the corner the orange theme kitchen complete with orange fridge and cupboards felt fresh and different adding another intriguing element to the design.  I had now changed my mind from my first impression, however, there is one element that I just could not overlook as being out of place (in my unprofessional opinion).  That was the cheap looking pink plastic chairs they had staged in the living room area. I am sure some people found this attractive but to me it just did not fit into the rest. These chairs would have to go!

The next area to be highlighted as a favorite of mine would be the Kitchen designed by architect Laciana Taquary.  It found its inspiration in the cerrado or more specifically the pequi. The minimalist design showcases the pequi flower, fruit, and tree. Wait a minute you say… “What is pequi?” Pequi is a fruit that grows in central Brazilian’s cerrado region. So, a fruit to inspire a kitchen design is average you say. However, this fruit is found mainly in the state of Goias (plus a little surrounding area). The taste is quite strong and it is definitely something liked by local Goianos and most non locals find it hard to swallow. It also has an unusual aroma that mixes sweet, fruity and cheesy. It can be ate raw (which I have not tried) or often it is cooked in rice or a local chicken dish. (which I have tried and trust me the flavor is quite strong but my vote on whether I like it or not is still out). After visiting the kitchen inspired by the fruit I decided to find out more. In my research I found out it has a beautiful flower (which does not smell good) that blooms during the night in the winter (July- September – I am going to try and find a tree and see this flower). The seeds of the tree can be roasted and locally they are favored more then Brazilian nuts. But, I have transgressed away from the design show a little so let's return. The kitchen is anchored by huge back lit mural of the pequi tree. The island work area with its yellow pequi adding just the right amount of fresh yellow color (I love yellow in the kitchen) to the silver, white and black elements. Detailed black etching of the pequi flower on white back splash tile added the finishing touch.

Since the theme had to do with technology there were quite a few entertainment rooms.  The second home cinema to make my top list was designed by Anna Maria Miller.  Its basic gray and lead tones with a dash of turqoise accent, was prefect to invite you to lounge around all day and watch a movie or two. The wall had a clean contemporary look that was faultlessly accented with white lighting.  Upon entering the room, I quickly envisioned curling up on the oversizes sofa to watch a great movie.

The final design that sticks out to me is actually the last creation in the show. The restaurant space designed by Andre Brandao and Marcia Varizo.  They really could not go wrong with their choise of  monochromatic reds in my book (I love red!). This red incorporated throughout the space was well thought out and coordinated in the spaced to provide functionality along with eye pleasing accessories. The only concern I had was the number of things, as it seemed a little cluttered for my simple tastes. It was inviting and we briefly discussed having dinner there (yes they do serve dinner), but opted for the restaurant across the street. (I will get to that later)

I cannot leave the interior design show without giving a call out to some other elements that I really enjoyed: the star lit wall in the baby’s room using fiber optics, the swivel chair the room host had me sit in and ask that I trust him as he swung me around, all the different wall materials used to create interest and intrigue out of a simple ordinary wall, the office wall with its diagonal display of ferns freshening the air while you work, the terrariums on the dining room table, and finally the couch made of wood branches stacked up. The COSA COR was a great experience and by no means do I claim to be an interior designer.  My perspective is just my thoughts on what I saw. The show reminded me of similar events “Street of Dreams” – “House Design” that I have attended in the United States and I look forward to coming back again to admire the creativity of these Brazilian designers.

To end this blog and the evening, we take a quick trip across the street where we find a table to eat dinner and enjoy the rest of the evening. the conversation is centered around the designs we saw and digesting out thoughts.  We were close enough to watch people heading to the COSA COR and were happy we went early as it soon became obvious this event was destination for a lot of people this evening. We enjoy our food and the rest of our evening with friends and until next year – decorate creatively.

(Read my review of the wedding show)


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wedding Show - Goiania Style

While in Brazil – I have had the privilege to attend two exhibitions of fashion. One was a wedding show (Noivas um Festa's Bridal Show) where my friend Tacia Magna Viana Pires was showcasing her talents in creating hand written invitation. The other was CASACOR Goias 2011( an exhibition on interior design. In this blog I will be talking about the first and I hope you enjoy my perspective. If you do and don’t want to miss the second, make sure you subscribe to my blog so you receive notices when I post. OK enough with the self promotion on to the evening.

Luiz arrives home and we quickly get ready for a cocktail reception a friend of his (Tacia Magna) has invited us to. I am not sure what the “event” is, but I am always game for dressing up and attending these kinds of functions. After a small bite to eat (there is always food at cocktail receptions so should keep it small, but you just never know what that food will be…right?), we drive to Ambientar (a local venue in Goiania) and park a short distance away. We stroll through the neighborhood with a few other people, all heading to the exhibition. When we get closer I realize it is a wedding expo and since I am in that industry back in Atlanta, I am excited to see what the city has to offer. The show Noivas Em Festa  TwitterFacebook Main Page is celebrating it’s 6th edition and tonight is highlighting over 50 professionals in the high end bridal market. With Valet out front and a welcoming red carpet, it is very similar to productions I network at in Atlanta.

We walk up to the front door and meet Tacia who has our ticket. She leads us into the venue and down the stairs to her stylish table.(Tacia Caligrafa - Official Photo from the night) It is nicely arranged with the hand written invitations displayed.  Each invitation was created with simply magnificent and graceful calligraphy. Even though it is written in Portuguese, I am intrigued by the flowing lines of the ink. They are so so precise, I almost cannot believe they are hand written. After a short visit with Tacia we begin to browse the different vignettes set up throughout the space.

The showcase is a representation from all the usual suspects like decoration, photography, buffet, ceremonial garments, shoes, cakes and pastries, invitations, furniture rentals, travel agencies, beauty salons, special car rentals, just to name a few.  ( See Exhibitors) Of course the vignettes highlighting the decorators draw my attention. These creative table displays could easily be found at the NACE Table Trends back in the states. (NACE Atlanta / Table Trends)

We make our way through the vendors to the courtyard checking out the many cake displays and possible hotel stays along the way. To my surprise many of the vendors did not want me to photograph their displays. This amazed me as they had put so much work into their creation and it was obvious I am not their competition (speaking only English and being from the U.S.). Even if I did intend to use their ideas, for me imitation is the best compliment I can get. (and you just never know where you photo will end up and get more attention) But it was their choice and I honored it only taking photos where the vendor said pode  (pronounced "pod-jee" it is "you can" in Portuguese). We made our way to the courtyard after about thirty minutes and the luxurious courtyard is filled with people, displays, food stations, bars, and a runway. I quickly notice a display up the little hill and to the right so I lead us in that direction.

This vignette is by far the winner of best design in my book (even though it is not a competition) It was the table designed by Valeria Junqueira (Website). To simply describe it as clear, clean and green. The design had nothing simple about it. With a variety of delicate white flowers suspended above the clear head table adorn with tall vases of white orchids and the same delicate white flowers overhead.  Plenty of fresh greenery added for the perfect accent to the clear see through elements. Around the head table were positioned the guest tables. Decorated with a fresh garden look adorned with tulips, yellow roses, greenery, and push pin mums in the center. They were lush and overflowing with the details of life. I spent quite a bit of time just looking and admiring the vignette.  Ever second discovering a new detail in the design.


Let's head back inside the building (not literally - just in my blog) to a table display which I have to acknowledge and give it honorable mention in my book (again, not a competition) I had noticed it as we walked through earlier and would describe it as dark and delicious.  With its black disco chandeliers above the elegant gold plated table and chairs. The details of the chairs competing for your eyes attention with only the black tableware and red accents of roses and napkins. How can you go wrong when you give people these colors to feast their eyes on. It was definitely an eye catcher. Unfortunately I could not find who’s table design it was.

But since this is not a decoration show, I had better spend some time on the rest, so lets head back. In the courtyard Luiz bumps into some friends who we hang out with the rest of the evening. It is always good to friends from our pasts. There is a large crowd of people gathered around the food stations and bars. (sound familiar?) we head towards the sushi bar to grab some nid bits to eat. The sushi tastes wonderful and I can see why everyone has gathered around. You also can’t get far before you are done eating it and need more.

A short while later the music starts. Singer White Sang Nila takes the runway along with her band. As they begin to play my first impression has nothing to do with what I hear but of how the singer is dressed. Isn't this an upscale cocktail party? If it is as I have witnessed then she has not dressed to the occasion. Her white unflattering dress with a gray scull on the front barely covered her bum.  It's shortness is only amplified by the tall boots she is wearing.  I don’t want to be a hater, but with the mismatched scarf adorning her neck, it looked like she ran through someones closet grabbing what ever she would find to wear. As she was singing I could not get past the outfit she was wearing. Maybe this is her style but I would expect to find someone a little more upscale at an event like this.

We hang out a little longer as Luiz caught up with his friends and I continued my people watching and creating stories in my head about who these people are in the wedding industry. I again wish my Portuguese was further along because you just never know the contacts I could have made. But it is what it is and the night is over and we head home to the comforts of our home. Another wonderful evening full of friends and beautiful things to see. The post for CASA COR Goias will be done shortly - check back and in the meantime check out my other posts.

Interior Design - Goias Style - COSA COR

(Read "A day in the Country")

(Click here for More Photos from the night) 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Day in Goias - A charming city!

Goias, Goias, here we come. OK – what do I mean by Goias you ask? Well, today we are heading northwest and visiting the first capital of the state of Goias. Yes the state and the capital city used to share the same name until 1933 when the state capital was moved to the newly built Goiania (read about this transition in  my blog What hidden gems. Goiania!). Our traveling companions Renato and Marinete stop at our front door (OK security gate) at 8:10 sharp and we are off.

It’s a two hour drive and the first stop we make is for gas. We all get out to stretch our legs, grab some coffee and pao de queijo (if you have read previous posts you should know what this is - cheese bread for those who do not). I am surprised when the Brazilian behind the counter asks me a question in English.    I wonder how he figured out I was American. It is almost a sense Brazilians have, at least those who have spent time in the U.S (and he had spent time in Webster, Massachusetts). After some thought though, I realized as much as I tried not to, I had asked for something in English so I tipped him off.  After a short converstation we get back in the pick up and continue our adventure.

The terrain passing by outside the pick up’s window turns quickly from the agricultural landscape with farms and livestock to a dry almost desert looking land.  This part of the cerrado has a large range of biodiversity and a distinct beauty of its own.  With it being the dry season, it definitely is starting to show signs of drought. After a while we start seeing some hills and valleys, full of a variety of vegetation. It is a gorgeous drive through the country and I have to say there is not much in between. There is one little town we come across where our first delay occurs.  There is a bridge being replaced so all traffic is getting detoured.  I always enjoy a good detour when I am traveling for pleasure. It takes you into neighborhoods and down roads you would never thinking of traveling. Today’s detour is a short one but it does stop us for a while with the rest of the travelers as we wait for oncoming traffic. The stop gives the local entrepreneurs an opportunity to sell their water, car phone jacks (kind of odd I know?), fruit and who knows what else. Each one leaving enough time in between the previous to make sure they make a good ask for the sale. We get out of the car for a quick stretch as we wait about 15 minutes. The street is narrow with the walls of typical Brazil on each side, lovely greenery flowing over the tops. The sun is hot and there is a cool breeze so it is definitely a perfect day to travel. Once everyone returns to their car (and we wait a couple extra seconds for the lady in the car in front of us who walked her dog a little too far) we are allowed to travel over the one lane bridge the military has supplied to keep traffic flowing to the other side of the river.

This detour is the first of three delays on our trip to Goias. The second and third are actually first seen as we speed by heading towards the final destination. There is a little discussion of what we just passed and a decision is made to turn around.  The first stop is to visit a colonial Catholic Church at the tops of some glorious steps. We wander up the stairs to the white church with blue trim matching the wide open sky behind. Built in 1910, the church stands proud and tall on the top of a little hill overlooking a Serra Dourada valley. The houses around the church have a lot of charm and are quite photogenic. There is a wall which starts here and continues through the natural hills to Goias. The wall was built by slaves and today is a piece of art in an unsuspected location. Once we are done exploring the church and its surroundings we continue on to the little roadside shop seconds up the road. Inside the little shop we find beautiful pottery. Made of bluish gray clay, it is well known to this region of Brazil and reminds me of the mud sculptures from Davenport, Iowa, where my aunt and uncle live. We look around at the pottery, make our purchases and hop back into the truck.

This is the last delay in our travels this day and soon we arrive in the de-seated capital of Goias. The city is located on the edge of the Serra Dourada Mountains (Gold Mountain Range). The Mountain range has two explanations for the origins of its name, one being from the gold found her in the 1700’s creating a huge gold rush to the region and the other is from the golden sunsets that can be seen through out the rough terrain. As we arrive it is a gorgeous day with fluffy white clouds suspended between the never ending crystal blue. The town remains in it colonial glory with many of the historic buildings built in the 1700’sand proudly preserved. The streets are in need of no speed bump as the cobble stone streets are rough enough to discourage any speed to your travels through the quaint streets.

Goias was founded in 1727 and named as a tribute to the local Goyaz Indians. At this time gold had been found in the mountains so a influx of Europeans settlers came to the city in search of their fortunes. Because of it's proximity to the gold find it soon became the capital of the state.  It was also the largest city in the area and very wealthy from the mining. As stated above, in 1933 the capital was moved to the newly built Goiania and today the city holds onto that heritage creating a tourist destination. In 2001 it gained international acclaim by being listed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) as a  World Heritage Site for it’s contributions to human cultural or physical significance.  Today with a population around 25,000, the locally economy is dependant on agricultural produce from the local orchards and cattle herds. Ecotourism has brought an financially viable source of revenue to the area with its hiking, waterfalls, and panoramic views (not that these activities are on our itinerary today).(again thanks wikipedia!)

We maneuver slowly down the cobblestone streets through the main part of town and stop in front of a quaint little restaurant (Restuarante flor de IPE) on the far end of the city. It is a welcoming place with a beautiful arch of blooming pink bougainvillea as its entrance. The path we follow leads to a courtyard with a simply elegant but leafless tree, surrounded by blooming plants at its heart. In the back we find the restaurant with a patio and great buffet filled with local Brazilian food.  The buffet is set out almost in anticipation of our arrival. We find a table at the edge of the patio overlooking a stream out back with bustling water. We enjoy a relaxing meal under the grape vine canopy,  with a cool flowing and the sounds of the stream below. When I finish cleaning my plate (it was that good) I excuse myself to take a look around (and snap some photos). I find some great angles and the best angle I find is the hammock. What a wonderful place to put your feet up and I personally love a good hammock. I decide to take a rest and enjoy a little quite time. As I look to the sky, I notice there is one of those white fluffy clouds blocking the sun. The silver lining of the cloud gets my attention as I am amazed how bright it is. Simply magnificent! As the cloud moves and the sun begin to beat down on me, I decide it is time to move on and leave my comfortable cocoon.


At this point my friends are ready to head back a few blocks to the main part of the city. The touring begins. First stop is the large Catholic Church "Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosario" on the top of the hill. It is a grand sturcture built in 1734 – with its gothic architectural style is definitely not typical in its colonial surroundings. At first we turn the corner and are disappointed as the front doors are now closed (they had been open when we drove through town to get to the restaurant). Fortunately for us we search a little more and the little gift shop to the right of the church (selling the usual rosaries and traditional Catholic gifts) is open. Yeah! We are awestruck by the stunning square between the church and the residence. With breathtaking white arches contrasted with beautiful flowers and greenery. A truly serene place where one can easily see many prayers being inspired here. The side door to the
church is open and we enter to find a lovely sanctuary with hand painted murals and more breathtaking white arches. The sanctuary is decorated with wild flowers arrangements of pinks and purples. Obviously wedding nuptials will be performed here later today.

We leave the church to walk down the hill along the stores lining the cobblestone street. Again a beautiful day and I think again just how wonderful life is. I would find it hard to believe that anyone would not be
enjoying this peaceful day. I travel in and out of the different stores, investigating all the locally made crafts and souvenirs. In hind sight I probably should have made a purchase or two to memorize my trip.

Across the bridge connecting us to the “commercial” area of the city we travel. It is easily to see the townspeople are proud of their heritage and keep the city well maintained.  Passing by some of the cities landmarks including "Church of the good death-Museu de Arte Sacra of the Church of the good death" housing a large collection of Baroque sculptors, "Cross of Anhanguera"on the banks of the red river, "Largo da Matriz-square with Bandstand" situated in the center of the city,  it has served as the main platform for community activities. 

We explore this square and on the one side is the old governor’s palace (built 1751). Ninety-eight governors of the state of Goias lived in this large property. It was built to serve as the residence for the govenors in the new capital. Luiz and I take a quick tour and I again fall in love with the antiques and well kept period furniture throughout. The quad out back is two tiered and flourishing with greenery and flowers. Today they allow wedding ceremonies in the space and I can easily see someone wanting to get married in this well manicured garden. The tour is in Portuguese, but Luiz translates for me. A couple times during the tour as the guide waits for him to translate, I wonder what the other people on the tour think about this interruption. I guess I will never know. Personally, these are the times I wish that learning the language was much easier.

After the tour we meet up with Renato and Marinete (who had decided not to go on the tour) and continue our exploration of Goias. The four amigos (us) head towards the towns market as it is supposed to be something to see in town. We stop and ask for directions and have a cute discussion with some local older ladies. They discuss how the market is surprisingly closed and that there seems to be no one in town for it being a Saturday. (again thanks Luiz for the translation). Although my Portuguese is limited by the

end of our visit, the one lady shares her concern for me being in the sun with such light complexion and offers me refuge under her umbrella for a minute. A new friend is made. The state of emptiness is very uncommon for the little community but we are not going to complain. Except that the most of the city market was closed and we would have loved seeing more. I think the lack of crowds is a positive for us.  Once we get to the market there is not much to see so after a couple of photos we turn around and explore more of the narrow streets of Goias.

The next destination on our walk is at the top of the hill and the Chafariz de Cauda. Built in the 1700’s as an aqueduct bringing water to the cities residence it has been preserved well over the years. Today is serves as a distinct symbol for the city of Goias. It can be found on post cards and represents the colonial architecture preserved in this picturesque community.

There is rumor of a special candy maker located a short distance from the Chafarez de Cauda so we ask a couple of people for assistance in locating this treat. Made in the home of Dona Silvia, we locate the home and are greeted and asked to have a seat. She disappears into the back room and returns with a tray of white candy in hand. Carved in the delicate Catholic symbols, the candy is sweet and definitely different then anything I have had before. We thank her for her hospitality and begin our journey back through the town towards the pick up parked at the Cathedral.

We make a quick stop at a cute little cafe “Bodega Fantastica” to have coffee and an afternoon treat. It’s an eclectic shop decorated like a hippie shop found in San Francisco. With a stage and a microphone it is easy to see they have open mike or some form of performance here from time to time. We finish our coffee and finish our journey through Goias.
I leave Goias feeling relaxed and rejuvenated from the day or exploration. If you ever have the opportunity to leave the beaten path of Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo and visit a different Brazil,  I would suggest this being a stop on your tour of the central area of the country.   I would truly love to come back and explore some more of the ecotrousism someday. (Read "Wedding Show - Goiania Style")

Please let me know if you would like a Goias -I would be happy to share this beautiful city with you! All inclusive packages available--
See my about me page for contact information or leave a comment.