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Jorge Zalszupin and L'Atelier

by Architectural Enquiry

Jorge Zalszupin (b. 1922), a native of Warsaw, Poland, studied architecture at Bucharest's Ecole des Beaux Arts. While working as an architect in Paris, he found inspiration in articles about Brazilians Oscar Niemeyer and Roberto Burle Marx and immigrated to Brazil. Zalszupin's professional life took off in the Rio de Janeiro studio of Polish-speaking architect Luciano Korngold. He moved to Sao Paulo, where he began designing furniture. In 1959, Zalszupin founded the furniture firm L'Atelier. Emphasizing a high level of craftsmanship, L'Atelier saw near-immediate success and eventually had two factories producing his designs. Zalszupin was heavily inspired by Danish design and while he was known for his refined work in jacaranda and other Brazilian woods, he also expanded his repertoire to include plastics. Graceful lines, strong use of local woods and a combination of impeccable woodworking and classical detailing mark Zalszupin’s furniture. He became part of a select team of talented furniture designers, who worked closely with Oscar Niemeyer on the conception and production of furniture for the new federal capital. The pieces he designed during this time utilized the luxury of leather and combined it with classical Brazilian rosewood. The need to create a successful harmony between architecture and his furniture was the reason behind establishing his own company L'Atelier. L’Atelier was a design collective comprised of architects, engineers, craftsmen and a full-scale team of professionals that did everything from researching materials to the finalizing the product. With the construction of the new capital Brasilia during the 1960’s and 1970’s, virtually no public building was left unmarked by the brand’s creations.