Upcycling at Cabana

We’ve always been inspired by the Brasilian practice of ‘upcycling’: taking something old and recycling it into something that often turns out better and more beautiful than the original. We’ve seen everything, from children selling ‘stolen’ telephone wire woven into colourful bowls, to the work of Getúlio Damado, an artist who has been collecting rubbish and turning it into toys he’s sold out of his wooden tram cart in the foothills of Santa Teresa for more than 40 years. Read on to find out about some examples of the awesome examples of the up cycling showcased in our restaurants:

The walls of Cabana are covered in floor to ceiling posters called lambe-lambe (literally “lick-it lick-it”), a style of fly-posting once popular in Sao Paulo. Mauricio and Carlos, the octogenarian duo behind Grafica Fidalga, print on their 1929 German letterpress, we told them vaguely what we were after and spent a whole day watching as they letterset and danced the samba.  Armed with hundreds of posters, we headed back to England!

Snag a seat on one of the Cabana banquettes and you’ll find yourself cushioned by the beautiful handiwork of two examples of Brasil’s innovative charitable organisations. Recicla Jeans is a project founded to give the women of Paraisópolis, the second largest favela in Sao Paulo, a source of income. The project helps around 30 women who create clothing and accessories out of recycled jeans. Our jeans banquettes are the first upholstery they have worked on, and we’re delighted to be able to showcase their work in our restaurant. 

Da-Lata (meaning “from the can”) is a UK based company founded by Astrid Barney which works with the “catadores” (“can pickers”) in Brasil to collect thrown away soft drink cans and turn them into unique fashion and home accessories. They collect the ring pulls from the cans (which are then recycled), and then clean and polish them up for female Brasilian artisans to crochet into jewellery, handbags, cushions and table mats. The colourful cushions on Cabana’s banquettes are each painstakingly made by De-Lata out of 2080 ring pulls, and we are proud to support a project which creates such a positive source of income literally out of the scrap heap.

Haas & Hahn is the collective name for Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn. Their aim has been to beautify and bring positivity to Brasil’s most hardcore favelas (slums) by engaging the communities in painting the buildings in startlingly bright and colourful murals. One of these projects, Santa Marta, is the inspiration for the bathrooms in Cabana, where corrugated iron is covered with rays of pastel paint. Hass & Hahn drew up a design to cover the main strip of 34 houses in the favela with 7,000 square meters of beautiful rainbow stripes. 

Check out the #WeAreBrasil hashtag on twitter where we tell stories about our upcycled interiors & the way we’ve been inspired by visits to Brasil