Tathiana Teixeira and Lilian Vianna-Benarroch opened Heritage Brazil this spring
as seen in
Captivated by the contemporary designs and ancestral traditions of their native Brazil, Tathiana Teixeira and Lilian Vianna-Benarroch began drawing up plans for a showroom devoted to Brazilian craftsmanship in Southampton last fall. The glamorous result, which was created with the input of their husbands Alessandro and Michel, is Heritage Brazil. Situated in a former ice warehouse, the airy space has been attracting locals, nomadic urbanites, and members of the interior design community since its spring opening.
Teixeira, who also runs the tea business Plain-T, has resided in the Hamptons for nearly 15 years. Vianna-Benarroch, a fashion industry veteran, has a house in the area. Therefore, it felt fitting for the friends to unveil Heritage Brazil in an intimate setting on Long Island’s idyllic East End. “We think that the idea of luxury has been reshaped,” Vianna-Benarroch tells AD PRO. “There is a face and a hand behind each of our products, and this is what has become important to people.”
Heritage Brazil’s storytelling also illuminates sustainable practices and embraces design as a tool for social change. For starters, they are partnering with the Zagaia Foundation to raise awareness of the environmental and economic issues of the Amazon region. And throughout their own retail space, a small but mindfully curated assemblage of Brazilian-made goods reflects this same ethos. Consider the range of one-of-a-kind baskets by Sérgio J. Matos, developed with female artisans from indigenous communities along the Amazon River. Spun from piassava and buriti fibers, the baskets are soaked in mud for four days, which imbues them with an earthy, burnished hue. “Profits from the baskets then go straight back to these women in very poor parts of Brazil,” Teixeira points out.
There are other intricate creations from Matos on display, too, including his Acaú Armchair, which resembles a fantastical underwater creature. Referencing the rare Elkhorn coral, it takes three months to produce just one such work from steel, twisted cotton, and resin wires. There are also the origami-like innovations of Flávio Franco Studio, such as the brushed aluminum Baralho chair, and the nature-inspired woodwork of Estúdio Paulo Alves.
“We have a huge network here and in New York City, but we are also reaching out to a lot of hotels and hospitality designers because so much of what we have is sculptural and would be great as statement pieces in lobbies,” says Teixeira.
Hand-loomed rugs from Trapos & Fiapos, a company launched by a doctor in northeast Brazil as a way of reviving both the local economy and the time-honored art of rug weaving, meld the likes of cotton and goat leather, while Fellicia’s whimsical, tropical light fixtures are fashioned out of vegetable fibers including dendê, coconut palm, and ouricuri. Heritage Brazil’s own collection of subtly textured, eco-conscious leather salvaged from salmon and pirarucu skin maximizes a by-product of fish processing that would otherwise go to waste.
Looking ahead, hand-painted ceramics by Evelyn Tannus will join the Heritage Brazil lineup. Teixeira and Vianna-Benarroch are also pleased to have a presence at the Topping Rose House design show house in nearby Bridgehampton on July 28, when architect and designer Campion Platt will incorporate objects from Heritage Brazil into an installation. Multiple exhibitions in the Heritage Brazil showroom, featuring works like Marcia Grostein’s black-and-white photography, are also being organized to bring an additional cultural layer to the brand’s mission.
“We have these beautiful white walls,” says Vianna-Benarroch. “It’s another opportunity to showcase the diversity of Brazilian art and design.”