Melo Guarda, Portugal (1906) – Itapira, São Paulo, Brazil (1992)
Joaquim Tenreiro was a kind of designer and woodworker at the same time because in his furniture he was able to use Brazilian wood in innovative ways, as a chromatic game, for instance. It was not random: Tenreiro was son of carpenters and since young helped to manufacture furniture. As a true artist, he worked as a draftsman, engraver, sculptor and painter.
His life was divided between Brazil, where he moved when was 2 years old, and Portugal, where he was born and lived between 1914 and 1925. In Rio de Janeiro, he studied at the Liceu de Artes e Ofícios and formed the Núcleo Bernardelli at the National School of Fine Arts.
After working as a furniture designer for a few companies Tenreiro discovered the modern aesthetic – his first furniture model the iconic Leve armchair was made in 1942 for a residence designed by Oscar Niemeyer in Cataguases, Minas Gerais. After, Tenreiro opened his own studio, the Langenbach & Tenreiro with Karl Langenbach and later two furniture stores, in Rio de Janeiro and in São Paulo.
Tenreiro’s most famous pieces are known for the quality his design. Although he had great success with the furniture design he decided to dedicate to the plastic arts almost exclusively since 1960 and his furniture therefore got status of rarity and masterpieces.