Gustavo Bittencourt was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1986 and graduated in Industrial Design in 2009 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. But even before joining the University, I knew well what profession to follow, because the influences of the architect mother gave him the certainty and passion to work with Design.
The eternal search for new knowledge, refinement, and his curiosity led him to work with great icons of the national scene such as Zanini de Zanine, Marcelo Rosenbaum, Rodrigo Calixto, besides having studied in Italy, in the Politecnico di Torino and in 2011 worked in Thomas Heyes Gallery in Los Angeles. Finally in 2013 he moved to Petrópolis, a city in the mountainous region of Rio, where he merged his studio with a traditional woodworking company, creating the Atelier Gustavo Bittencourt, where the proposal is to develop, produce and market his projects. I reached out to Gustavo to find out more about his amazing pieces, and this is what he had to say.
Object of Reference: What's at the core of your projects and your brand?
Gustavo Bittencourt: " At Atelier, we have the proposal to create, develop, produce and market. We believe in this direct contact, we like to create a relationship with people, develop an interaction, because I think of timeless furniture, that last for a lifetime. Therefore these pieces become not only furniture, but an immaterial, irreplaceable good that ends up being part of the family, its history. I believe that when we use our hands, as artisans, we pass our feelings to the furniture, which brings soul and makes every piece unique. "
Object of Reference: Tell me a little about yourself. What is your background and how did you get involved with design?
Gustavo Bittencourt: " From the time I was a child, I lived with a lot of architecture influences, because my mother is an architect. My influences are construction, interior design furniture and also Le Corbusier, Bertoia, Saarinen, Sergio Rodrigues, Janete Costa, Ricardo Fasanello, among others. I always liked to draw too, to create, and with the passing years I fell in love with design. My mother was encouraging me, she was buying me books, paintings, taking me to museums, until I finally gave in. "
Object of Reference: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Gustavo Bittencourt: " Actually, I try to enjoy the inspiration wherever it comes from, I try not to limit myself. I look for many references in architecture, plastic arts, evolution, industrial processes, crafts, stories, cultures, nature etc. I believe we all have a look, a point of view about what we look at, and we are all different. And my furniture is exactly my interpretation of forms, mixtures, how I express myself, how I transform my references, my points of view and what I believe in. "
Object of Reference: Do you believe in following the rules when it comes to design, and if so, what are these rules in your projects?
Gustavo Bittencourt: " There are several ways of developing a product, I do not dwell on a single methodology. From creation to final product, sometimes the steps are reversed. I can have a specific briefing or I can have creative freedom. Sometimes a form, or the process, will incite the functionality and what the product will become. Sometimes, I start with a shape, I use a material, I develop the ergonomics, adapting to the concept and the furniture. And sometimes it is just the opposite, for it may be the form, or the possibilities of the material or the process of production, that will tell and guide what that product will become. "
Object of Reference: What would your advice be for someone who would like to get started in this industry?
Gustavo Bittencourt: " Do with it love and do what you believe, regardless of industry and the market. Of course, always have a commercial stamp, as they have to sell to keep you working, but they have to be true. It has to be something of your own, not a modified copy. "
Object of Reference: What would be your dream project to work on?
Gustavo Bittencourt: " To continue what I have been doing at Atelier is my main dream. Continue with our proposal, our designs, our concept. For we think a little differently than the market and the industry is thinking generally. We propose to create furniture that will last a lifetime. We respect our raw materials, our customers, the processes, so we design and produce furniture in order to be timeless. And what makes me happier is that I can work on what I believe, with what I love to do…furniture. "
Object of Reference: What are you currently working on and what are your creative plans for the future?
Gustavo Bittencourt: " I have some projects under development, I think it is fundamental to always encourage creativity, stimulating. So I always try to be drawing, creating, searching for new solutions, reading books, trying to perfect myself more and more. And soon, I will be moving to a place, where I will have the woodwork, the Atelier, my house, a gallery to receive friends, people, talk about design, life. A space to receive. "
To find out more about Gustavo Bittencourt you can visit his website at or follow him on Instagram @ bittencourtgustavo