The occasion of What Design Can Do São Paulo offered several of the foreign speakers to visit local studios, organizations, and individuals. These encounters outside the conference were highly appreciated by the participants from both sides. ‘You never know what comes of it,’ said Jan Knikker, partner of MVRDV after meeting with Marko Brajovic in his atelier. ‘It is always possible that some day we work together.’

This seemed to be a general feeling among the participants in the studio sessions, who without exception reacted all very enthusiastic. Jolanda de Boer and Martin Witteveen, the two Dutch public prosecutors who attended WDCD SP to share their expertise, were impressed by the energy of the founders of Think Olga (see separate report) and the drive and determination of Alexandra Baldeh Loras, wife of the former French consul in Brazil, a journalist and activist for the emancipation of the black population, and in particular women.

Acclaimed Dutch art director Erik Kessels met with communications agency Mutato, WDCD’s communication partner in Brazil, and with IdeaFixa, one of WDCD’s media partners in São Paulo. At Mutato he spoke with professionals from the Creation, Planning, Service and Audiovisual departments, telling them about the agency world in the Netherlands and his work as a curator. His practice raised awareness among the Mutato team for the hidden beauty a well-trained eye can find in ordinary images and things. Kessels also discussed the importance of error in the creative process. He then had a chat with Mutato’s partner, CEO and CCO, Eduardo Camargo, while the Mutato team could bring up their questions.

Artist Jan Rothuizen, creator of his soft atlases, was a guest of Fábrica de Ideias Brasileiras. The Brazilian design agency presented their upcoming publication featuring work of artists from every single one of the 96 districts that make up São Paulo. The 96 artists each created a piece that represented their own neighbourhood. In return Jan Rothuizen showed them his Soft Atlas of Amsterdam, and other works in which he mapped out subjective observations of various places he visited.

Activist journalists

Dutch designer and animation artist Rogier Klomp met with web designer Diogo Rodrigues and also visited This Reporters Brasil, a group of journalists, social scientists and educators who come into action against violation of fundamental rights of people and workers in Brazil.

The Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane visited the studio of Brazilian fashion designer Isaac Silva. The two bonded over their mutual love for bold colours and prints. After trying on a few pieces from Silva’s diversified collection, they embarked on a fun little city tour by foot through the streets São Paulo, visiting a small market and tasting the local food.

Gastronomic treat

Experience designer and food artist Sam Bompas had the pleasure to taste some local food too, of exquisite beauty we should add, because this was at Mocotó, the family restaurant of the highly praised Brazilian top chef Rodrigo Oliveira. Accompanied by fruity caipirinhas and tasty juices the gastronomic treat by Oliveira included his signature dishes Dices of tapioca, Cassave chips and Pig foot ceviche, a dish with duck, beans, smoked sausage and an amazing free range egg from a local farmer, and fabulous salads with fruits, flowers and palm heart and roasted pumpkin, feta cheese.

After a tour through the crowded restaurant – with the atmosphere of a nice local eatery; nothing highbrow here – up to the roof with a magnificent view over São Paulo, Oliveira seduced his guests once more with the most delicious triplet of desserts. Even Sam Bompas encountered new tastes here and admitted to be truly overwhelmed by the entire experience.

Top Image: Sam Bompas and Rodrigo Oliveira on the roof terrace of Mocotó (photo Bas van Lier)