The fourth DesignFile e-book by Cooper-Hewitt, 'Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion & Design' is written by Adriana Kertzer. DesignFile is a line of e-books published by the National Design Museum in consortium with academic and institutional partners on the topic of design writing and research.
‘In our role as convener, Cooper-Hewitt encourages spirited dialogue and presents discourse on a range of historic and contemporary design topics in various platforms, from exhibitions and white papers to e-books and public programs,’ said Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper-Hewitt.
In Favelization, Kertzer explores the ways in which specific producers of contemporary Brazilian culture have capitalised on misappropriations of the informal squatter settlements that grow along the hillsides and lowlands of many Brazilian cities – favela – to brand luxury items as ‘Brazilian’.
‘Kertzer’s book joins the great selection on our DesignFile publishing platform, which launched last year to increase public access to design scholarship and resources,’ says Baumann.
Kertzer – a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Arts & Design – is the daughter of a Texan mother and first-generation Brazilian father. Written from this perspective, her book illustrates the issues of design and national identity that she experienced growing up in São Paulo.
Via case studies she explores favelism – examining shirts designed by Fernando and Humberto Campana for Lacoste, furniture by Brunno Jahara and David Elia and the films Waste Land and City of God – making an enquiry into the ethical conundrums associated with using non-formal settlement residents in commercial design work. She exposes the way in which designers and filmmakers utilise the stereotypes and primitivism of favela to boost the desirability of their goods internationally.
Published in English and Portuguese, Favelization can be order through Amazon, iTunes or Nook.