David Elia's fantastic first solo show at D'Days Paris


Manifeste Carioca

This week, Paris celebrates its annual D'Days festivities, and the city is awash in design presentations and events. There's one standout we're particularly excited about, though: Manifeste Carioca, the first major solo show by Brazilian designer David Elia (the talent behind Design da Gama). The exhibition, which opened just yesterday, is hosted by the Museum of Decorative Arts and showcases several Elia designs inspired by life in modern-day Brazil.

Stray Bullet Chair by David Elia, 2011. Courtesy of David Elia; © David Elia. Stray Bullet Chair by David Elia, 2011. Courtesy of David Elia; © David Elia.

Elia's work embraces gambiarra—a Portuguese word that refers to an innovative, makeshift problem-solving style common to Brazil, alluding to a lack of standard tools and a tradition of resourcefulness—as well as up-cycling tendencies. “The Carioca spirit is very spontaneous; it represents the capacity to improvise everything at the last minute, and this is the spirit I hope to convey in my designs,” explains Elia. His work explores problematic issues within Brazilian society, including gang warfare, drug trafficking, deforestation, and poor urban infrastructure. Elia's Stray Bullet collection, for example, incorporates a volatile symbol of violence (gold eyelets, representing bullet holes) into ubiquitous objects: monobloc plastic chairs and tables.

Bulletproof Vitrine by David Elia; photo courtesy of the designer. Bulletproof Vitrine by David Elia. Photo by Valentina de Gaspari; courtesy of David Elia.

Deforestation by David Elia. Photo by Valentina de Gaspari; courtesy of David Elia. Deforestation by David Elia. Photo by Valentina de Gaspari; courtesy of David Elia.

No Trespassing by David Elia. Photo by Valentina de Gaspari; courtesy of David Elia. No Trespassing by David Elia. Photo by Valentina de Gaspari; courtesy of David Elia.

David Elia at his bullet-ridden installation, "Rio de Janeiro, May 2014," last month in NYC. Photo by Anna Carnick; courtesy of L'AB. David Elia at his bullet-ridden installation,

We had the pleasure of speaking with the ever-humble Elia in person at Collective during NYC Design Week last month, when the designer (in addition to sweetly plying us with tea and chocolates) showed us his bright white, bullet-ridden Rio de Janeiro, May 2014 installation, which reinterpreted the number of documented violent crimes (210) that occurred in Rio during the month of May, one year prior to the Collective presentation. Golden eyelets were strewn across the installation's backdrop and furniture, each one depicting a specific incident, juxtaposed against the color white, chosen as a symbol of hope. After talking us through Rio, Elia told us just how much it meant to him to be showing at the Museum of Decorative Arts during D'Days: “I'm very happy. . . I'm really looking forward to getting some feedback as well, and showing in a great setting.”

For our part, we say, well done, David! And congratulations!

*Manifeste Carioca is on view now through August 2015. And D'Days continues in Paris through June 7th. For more information, visit ddays.net

More to Love