Less than three months ago the eyes of the world were on São Paulo during the FIFA World Cup. But things really heated up just two weeks ago when WDCD’s Richard van der Laken arrived in town. For two days, São Paulo was the graphic design capital of the world as it hosted the annual gathering of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI).

‘From the point of view of What Design Can Do, Brazil is a very interesting country where, amidst rapid development, lots of social problems call for creative and sustainable solutions,’ says Richard van der Laken. He seized his invitation to speak at the AGI Open conference to visit the country and meet lots of people on the creative scene, including two speakers at next year’s What Design Can Do event.

Van der Laken: ‘I felt there was a keen interest in the proposition of What Design Can Do, as a platform where creative minds from all disciplines meet and discuss the possibilities of design and creativity in general to come up with answers to the social questions of our times. Brazil is a country that faces lots of problems, including the huge gaps between the rich and poor, and between the educated and uneducated. Or take a city like São Paulo, which is stagnating on so many levels. I wouldn’t be surprised if we brought What Design Can Do to São Paulo some day.’

From talking to Brazilian designers, Van der Laken sensed that so much is happening on the Brazilian creative scene. ‘We’ve had speakers from Brazil at WDCD in the past, and they showed great commitment to the social advancement of their country and its people,’ he says. ‘I saw the same commitment in many designers I met. They don’t just design new chairs. I’m very happy to announce that the Campana brothers will come to WDCD next year. Another guest will be DJ-turned-chef Alex Atala, who heads the acclaimed D.O.M. restaurant where he serves original flavours from Brazil. All of them are highly creative people, extremely dedicated to their country.’

To celebrate the participation of these distinguished guests at WDCD, we’re kicking off the new season of the WDCD blog with a short series of Brazilian stories.

Image: the studio of Fernando and Humberto Campana (photo: Richard van der Laken)