game table"This was for an exhibition about samba songs. I'm not a samba expert, so I tried to create this game [based on] a heartbreaking song. In the game you get nowhere."STREET PORTRAITS"I wrote a book about São Paulo's old downtown. I wanted an old naive street painter, not a graffiti guy, to do the portrait for the cover and I commissioned Carlos Gama. Then I asked him to paint six portraits [of famous people] for some shot glasses.""personal responsibility" head"This is something that a German friend gave me. He gave me this tape with 'personal responsibility' written on it, and I thought that people usually talk about the environment and things like that. Then I thought no: our main personal responsibility is with our brain, our ideas."
the number 5 board"We did an exhibition for the University of São Paulo about their construction process and we created the stencils here. And this was the test, the prototype."Audi Poster"The VW is very cheap and very old. And they asked me to do a poster about São Paulo. What is São Paulo? São Paulo is an old VW Kombi pretending it's an Audi. We're not looking good, but let's think we are."
- Photography by Mr Robert Astley Sparke
- Words by Mr Mike Hodgkinson
Football is not the only reason that design consultancy Casa Rex is headquartered in a remodelled 1950s house in the heart of São Paulo's Pacaembu neighbourhood, but it's definitely in the mix. "This is not a business area of the city," says Mr Gustavo Piqueira, 41, who started the company in 1997. "And that is very important for me. It's very close to Pacaembu Stadium, which is great because every time there's a match here it's incredibly noisy and lively."
Equipped with a keen sense of irony and an impressive range of creative talents, Mr Piqueira has taken Casa Rex international and maintains a satellite office in London (handy for Unilever, his biggest client). He's not just a graphic designer but also an illustrator, a typeface inventor and a writer - his books include Iconografia Paulistana, an exploration of his home city via images and fiction, and what he calls "a moderately accurate translation of A Verdadeira História by Luciano de Samósata". All of his projects can be connected by a strong hint of counterintuitive thinking, which extends to the rationale behind his office space.
"I have a big issue with what people call 'creative work space'. The basic principle here runs against these contemporary creative work spaces," he says. "I really don't believe that a pinball machine in the office will make people cleverer." There are no micro-scooters, beanbags or Ping-Pong tables at Casa Rex, but Mr Piqueira's office does great things with natural light, brick and reclaimed materials. "I don't need to seduce a very creative mind to come here."
Click through the slides, above, to find out more about some of the things in Mr Piqueira's office. casarex.com
I believe that I am really old-fashioned, but sometimes I think that I am a visionary, depending on my moods