The New World of Lina Bo Bardi is an unexpected gem of a video about the architectural vision of Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992), an Italian-born Brazilian luminary whose legacy is only now gaining wide-spread recognition. Architect Ouida Angelica Biddle and artist Nicolau Vergueiro, produced the CGI short, animated byJoao Rosa. DJ Total Freedom ads a breezy, hypnotic touch with an original sound track built around a quote from Bela Criança—a 1951 essay by Bo Bardi. The short, an animated mandala of doodles, photographs, art and digitally rendered environments, premiered at Poetic Research Bureau on Saturday, to a live mix by the LA-based music phenomenon.
According to the collaborative trio, it’s a “commercial for the brain of Lina Bo Bardi,” a woman whose creative thinking founded schools and museums, cut across furniture and set design, and imagined big buildings like the breathtaking SESC Pompéia completed in 1986 in São Paulo a sort of concrete castle-meets-jungle gym which serves as a multi-level community center. If her reception as a leading 20th century designer has lagged, a MoMA retrospective in the planning suggests things are on the mend for Bo Bardi, as does the current round-up of art-star installations curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist at her former home. Now a museum, the glass house once entertained the likes of Alexander Calder, John Cage, and Roberto Rossellini.
Generosity was Bo Bardi’s call to order. She was not shy of opinionating in her work or writing for a new social reality where modernism fuses generously with landscape and communities. Beyond pat definitions of sustainability, Bo Bardi worked her buildings into neighborhoods by earning people's respect as a laborer. “She was unafraid to be childlike and vulgar, yet also unafraid to lead with boldness in a foreign country. Her work transcends institutional permission and speaks right to a space of fantasy,” say Biddle and Vergueiro.
No wonder protests like those that have flared up across Brazil in the face of rising wealth inequality seem at home under her roof, at least the one she designed for the futuristic-looking Museum of Art of São Paulo, a landmark box levitating over a square. It’s a true mother ship where people never tire of congregating. Until you make it there, as Total Freedom told me, The New World of Lina Bo Bardi is a gorgeous substitute.