Newfound political stability, economic growth, and increasing international clout are establishing Brazil as a twenty-first century superpower. This young, continental nation is also seeing unprecedented social mobility: roughly half of Brazil’s population, over 90 million people, are now part of its emergent “C Class,” or lower middle-class. This dynamic population is radically changing how Brazilians relate to consumption, entertainment, media, and politics.

“Alvorada,” Portuguese for “dawn,” is a project that looks at how product and furniture design, or the thinking and making of consumer goods, reflect a country in transition. Addressing momentous issues such as class, national identity, manufacturing scale, and human resources, this thesis reflects upon the relation between the designer as a critical subject and Brazilian society as a realm of possibility and potentiality.

This presentation will not try to define what makes Brazilian design Brazilian, but will rather suggest Brazil’s own assumption of difference in a global design context. Using three case studies as distinct design responses to social transformations, this talk will also explore how designers, but also manufacturers and consumers, are establishing the framework of a new design model.

In addition, two of “Alvorada’s” forthcoming applications will be presented as components of a wider, critical exploration of Brazilian contemporary design: an illustrated book and an international symposium on Brazilian design and social change.

The School of Visual Arts MFA Design Criticism Department presented “Crossing the Line: The 2010 D-Crit Conference" organized by graduating D-Crit students at the SVA Theatre in New York City on Friday, April 30 2010.

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