Though Giuseppe Scapinelli was born in Italy, he became known as a Brazilian furniture designer with a keen eye for style and detail. Scapinelli grew up the sixth of sixteen sons (16!) in a traditional noble family in Reggio Emilia. After receiving a degree in architecture in 1941, he was forced to hide out in an antique furniture store during World War II in order to escape the bombings. He put his time to good use by studying the styles and construction of the furniture. Seeing Italy in ruins after the war, he decided to immigrate to Brazil.
When he arrived in Sao Paulo, Scapinelli began working with acclaimed architect Francesco Matarazzo, who was a soft landing for many Italian immigrants. In 1950, Giuseppe opened his own business with a talented team of Italian woodworkers, who executed his designs with exacting precision. He became known for the quality of his furniture, which was constructed from his detailed drawings specifying every element down to the most minute.
Scapinelli was also a ceramist who collaborated with many of the artists in 1960s Brazil, including his brother Francesco, who joined Giuseppe in Brazil and went to work for him. While primarily a ceramist, Francesco was also an architect and went on to open the Novo Rumo furniture company and Della Robbia Ceramica Artistica ceramic factory.
Scapinelli’s name has become synonymous with innovation and the simplicity and elegance of the design, along with the refined details and quality construction. What is little known is how kind and generous he was, with many people saying, “He treated me like I was his son.” He was more interested in fishing and eating at the Italian restaurant he owned than on self-promotion, which is why he isn’t as well known as other Brazilian designers and is only now being rediscovered. Check out the beautiful Scapinelli pieces at Adesso.