Pedro Petry, a Brazilian ecodesigner, is a pioneer in the research and use of woods that tend not to generate interest in the traditional furniture and decorative article market. In his hands, rough wood, normally used only as firewood or sawdust, becomes benches, tables, vases, trays, and light fixtures as well as women's purses and accessories.
Imperfections like cracks or knots, not considered defects, are appreciated as richer raw material. Two items are never alike.
"The creation of each product is based on the characteristics of the wood available. This way, the designer incorporates exclusive design. We do not design a product and then see how to produce it. First we 'date' the raw material, trying to extract from it the best way for its use," he explains.
Such care has already attracted the attention of many people, including foreign buyers. "The search for objects has been growing gradually. We mostly export furniture, like benches, tables and side tables, to England and the United States," he said. Aware of the potential new markets may represent to his sales, Petry believes that he may also sell to the Middle East and North Africa.
"We would really like to develop partnerships that would make it possible for us to work with the Arab market. Some retailers in the United States and Europe commented with us that they intend to expand into the Arab market, but there is not yet anything concrete," he explained.
Twenty years have gone by since Petry started this work of mining treasures disguised as castaways. "In the beginning, using unknown species was just a way of protesting against the 'luxury in the litter'. Since then we have changed the name of this mining to Urban Management," explains the designer, who was born in Joinville, in the state of Santa Catarina, and now lives in Itu, in the interior of São Paulo.
According to him, the establishment and expansion of urban centers for human occupation, in the environmental point of view, always causes great impact. The opening of streets, constructions and maintenance of urban equipment generates a great volume of cut trees. "Part of them are disposed of as organic garbage and another part is made use of as firewood for pizzerias, drycleaners and brick furnaces," he explained.
Instead of using hardwood, the artist makes his objects out of the trunks of fruit trees like apples, pears and cashew trees that were knocked down by rains, storms or wind. The knowledge and technique of the ecodesigner spread around Brazil.
In 2000, he was invited to work as a consultant in a pioneering community sustainable management project in the state of Acre (northern Brazil, greatly covered by Amazon forest). "That was when I managed to evaluate the importance and dimension of the possibilities that these principles could bring to the preservation of forests," he explained
According to Petry, a very small variety of species is consumed, if compared with the diversity in the Amazon flora. "Any area in a management plan in the Amazon has a minimum variety of 100 to 150 species. Within this universe, we have a tradition of consuming about 30, in a very conservative way of thinking," he pointed out.
The imminent exhaustion of natural resources, in the evaluation of the designer, imposes new paradigms. "I think that the great offer we have in Brazil has actually been harmful to us, as we have sat back and become a culture of waste. It is time to change. In this direction, we have explored to exhaustion the possible uses of wood," he explained.
Petry has a team of 13 people who have been with him for years. "Each professional has a specific specialization, depending on the products he is allocated. As the process is entirely artistic, human interference is a factor of great importance," he pointed out. The average production of the workshop is 300 items a month.
Atmosfera Brasil, with a showroom in São Paulo, the Brazil's Southeast, is Pedro Petry's commercial representative. "Here people may find the largest variety of products made by Pedro, recalling that the products are practically unique," stated the company manager, Maria Cristina Brust.
Atmosfera is a company that represents Brazilian designer products, which operates as a corporate sales channel for national products with great quality, high added value and different design.
Still in São Paulo, the artist's items may also be found at Dpot, Casa Matriz, Essencial and Loeil. There are also points of sale in capitals like Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro (respectively Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro states – Southeast Brazil), Salvador and Recife (capitals of the states of Bahia and Pernambuco, respectively) and Brazilian capital Brasília.
Anba – www.anba.com.br