For the Brazilian Pavilion in the London Design Biennale 2018, London-based Brazilian artist and designer David Elia has created the installation ‘Desmatamento’ (Deforestation). The work captures the vulnerability of Brazil’s rainforest and the raw emotions surrounding both its destruction, and the ongoing efforts to save it.
Elia’s focus for the installation highlights the Mata Atlantica, a rainforest in South America which spans along the Atlantic Coast running from Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, to Paraguay. The biodiversity present in the Mata Atlantica is one of the densest and abundant in the world as well as being one of the most threatened. Visitors to ‘Desmatamento’ are transported into the Mata Atlantica, where the fragrances of the rainforest permeate the room by a central pile of Eucalyptus logs spanning 2m x 1.8m. The sights and sounds of the rainforest in the Ubatuba region are experienced through a projected film produced by Director Tunde Albert.
Stools meticulously crafted from the branches of found Eucalyptus trees, a fast-growing species widely used in Brazil reforestation are another key feature, inspiring visitors to sit and contemplate the future of the planet. Each piece is covered by numerous small cross-sections of Eucalyptus branches. An ultramarine band at the base of each stool represents the mark used by forest wardens to indicate trees that are to be saved from being felled. This prominent, vibrant blue symbolises both the controversy to protect the delicate ecosystem and the hope that progress is being made.
Elia explains that ‘Desmatamento’ not only gives voice to the issue, but simultaneously represents a strong and necessary sense of optimism and endurance surrounding this matter. In 2017 the upward trend of deforestation was reversed, and a fall of 16% was registered compared to the previous year. Brazil has agreed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by 37% below the levels of 2005, but this commitment must be maintained and is of utmost importance.”
Bespoke wallpaper designed by Elia evokes the topography of the tropical forests where various sizes and shapes of plants co-exist harmoniously. “Beyond its symbolic resonances, ‘Desmatamento’ is intended to capture the essence of the fragile and ethereal ecosystem.
The 2018 London Design Biennale is devoted to the theme, Emotional States. Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, including The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court and River Terrace, it will explore big questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities, and social equality. Visitors will enjoy engaging and interactive installations, innovations, artworks and proposed design solutions - all in an immersive, inspiring and entertaining tour of the world.