SPFW 2012

A Gente Transforma is the theme of this 33rd São Paulo Fashion Week {SPFW}. The country’s most important fashion week intends to foster the debate on sustainability from the economic, social and cultural standpoints, and to restate its commitment to creativity and innovation as tools capable of driving transformation. Hence the name of the SUMMER 2013 SPFW, A GENTE TRANSFORMA {WE TRANSFORM} - stories that matter.


30 Jun 2016

Várzea Queimada


Narrated by Rodrigo Santoro
Written by Marques Casara

In the semiarid, at very dry places, stories are like the mandacaru flowers. When it blossoms, it’s a sign that rain is coming to the semiarid. Life appears, after months and months of drought.

The stories told in the semiarid are like these drought flowers. They have always been there. But just as flowers need water, stories must be told, in order to live.

Once, many years ago, a forbidden love was born in the semiarid, with the rains. João Barbosa, a farmer, fell in love with Maricó, a cook. From this forbidden love, a story was born. From this story, a place was born.

Várzea Queimada, in the hinterland of Piauí, is in the heart of the semiarid. Here live 800 people, all related to each other, all children of a love that was born many, many years ago.

A story that was forgotten in the past. The story of a strong, brave, creative people. People who hold very ancient knowledges. Artisanship techniques that survived through the centuries and are now reborn.

Just like the mandacaru flowers are reborn with water, Várzea Queimada is reborn, watered with a dream and the will to transform.

In Várzea Queimada, in a church with no priest, the artisans build miracles with their own hands.

A Gente Transforma is a dive into the soul and culture of the peoples that form Brazil.

A Gente Transforma uses design to bare the Brazilian soul.

In the stories we tell, water soaks the semiarid and sows hope.

In the stories we build, the future is in each of our hands.

Várzea Queimada is reborn from its own story, of a forbidden love, of mixed races, the ancestral knowledge, the dream of turning design into a portrait of the Brazilian soul.




The A Gente Transforma project, led by designer Marcelo Rosenbaum, is an initiative that uses design to bare the Brazilian soul; in its 2nd edition, now in Piauí, its main objective is to insert the artisanal work in the decoration market and present opportunities for a new social business.

Now, fashion is putting a magnifying glass over the stories of A Gente Transforma. The project is the theme of the 33rd Sao Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW). The country’s main fashion week intends to foster the debate on sustainability from the economic, social and cultural standpoints, and to restate its commitment to creativity and innovation as tools capable of driving transformation. Hence the name of the SUMMER 2013 SPFW, A GENTE TRANSFORMA (WE TRANSFORM): stories that matter.

“I was very happy when Paulo Borges told me that he didn’t expect me to do the scenography, but to talk about the project and present its content within the event’s venue. The exhibit is not intended to decorate the Bienal building, but to bring to the public a little bit of this rich experience that A Gente Transforma has been providing. An exclusive, contemporary look towards Brazil,” said designer Marcelo Rosembaum.

The exhibit at the SPFW is comprised of images printed on fabric, which shall be reused in travelling exhibits around Brazil and the world. The images were capture by photographer Tatiana Cardeal during the 15 days of the project in Piauí. The vignettes that open the shows were produced by Pródigo Films, and there are 6 versions, each bringing a different aspect of AGT’s experience in the hinterland of Piauí. Actor Rodrigo Santoro is also part of this action. With his voice, always emblematic and filled with emotion, he narrates a letter that describes the essence of the project, for everyone that attends the SPFW, at Bienal, to hear.

Another personality to support this project is model Carol Trentini. Excited with this action, the Brazilian top model literally wears A Gente Transforma. Carol was photographed by Fabio Bartelt in a sequence of images that convey the essence of AGT: using design to bare the Brazilian soul. With the TOCA collection as the backdrop, the campaign with the model is featured in the scenography of SPFW and will be published in various media across Brazil.

During the event, the product collections Toca da Palha (the Straw Den) and Toca da Borracha (the Rubber Den) will be available for purchase at SPFW’s Pop-Up Store. They will be available for sale at Conceito Firma casa, at Alameda Gabriel Monteiro da Silva, in Sao Paulo, immediately afterwards.


Wednesday, February 1s, 2012 – Forty-seven people, including designers, architects and students, arrive in Várzea Queimada, in the heart of the northeastern semiarid, a five-hour drive from Teresina. This is one of the regions with the lowest HDIs in Brazil. It’s a village where 900 people live, surviving with food they grow, without sanitation and with poor access to something very valuable: water. For the next 15 days, this team spends day and night with the community, designing a new possibility for the future, generating social and economic opportunities. Thus begins the project A Gente Transforma 2012 – Chapada do Araripe, Piauí.

Created by designer Marcelo Rosembaum, A Gente Transforma is on its second edition. The first was in 2010, in the outskirts of São Paulo, at Parque Santo Antonio, where it transformed the community with empowerment actions, using colors and social inclusion projects. On its 2nd edition, now in Piauí, AGT’s main objective is to insert artisanship into the decoration market, a sector that moves R$60 billion per year in Brazil [1]. The project involves traditional communities from the Brazilian hinterland. It combines ancestral knowledges and modern design techniques. From the combination of these knowledges, original and authentic collections arise – aesthetically advanced, valuing the roots of design. The pieces are produced in partnership with the communities, who hold centuries worth of knowledge.

From the economic standpoint, its main feature is to meet the requirements of the New Economy: inclusive and sustainable. Its vision for the future is to be a social business, entrepreneurial and, at the same time, to generate social and economic impact, minimizing the environmental impacts in its areas of activity. Its main platform is the sustainable design.

For two weeks, Marcelo Rosembaum coordinated the work groups in Várzea Queimada. One group is comprised of artisans who work with carnauba straw, a tree commonly found in the region, and has the collaboration of Portuguese designers Rita João and Pedro Ferreira, of Studio Pedrita. The other group is of rubber artisans, with the collaboration of jewelry designer Kalina Rameiro, from Piauí. The groups create, in total, a collection of 30 pieces, named Toca [Den] – Rubber Den and Straw Den, with decoration pieces and jewelry.

Another work-front was coordinated by architects Henrique Pinheiro and Tomaz Lotufo, with the participation of 18 students from around Brazil. The result was the construction of a place for the artisans to gather and work: two buildings, built on public land according to the criteria of permaculture.

“We believe in new models for the development of the country. AGT brings a new vision to design, because its objective is the local development, from the way it interacts with the community and the world, connecting local and global. It takes Várzea Queimada to the world, with its story imprinted in the design products made by the community. It also leads to income generation and to empowerment, all from a genuine vocation of this community – artisanship,” explained Rosembaum.

Continuing the work in Várzea Queimada, in April 2012 A Gente Transforma was presented at the Fronteiras exhibit, curated by Casa Claudia magazine, during a parallel event at the Milan International Furniture Fair. This Fair is the world’s main event in the industry, with thousands of Brazilian architects and designers visiting every year.

Technical sheet


Creator and Director
Marcelo Rosenbaum

Executive Director
Adriana Benguela

Content Director
Marques Casara

Tatiana Cardeal

Fabiana Zanin

Ludimilla Bueno

Digital Content
Livia Salomoni

Films / Vignettes
Prodigo Filmes:
Direção: Sylvia Sendacz
Direção De Fotografia: Janice D´ávila e Heloisa Passos
Equipe: Catarina Nunes Siqueira, Guilherme Duarte Tsugumi, Marcelo Araujo Gasparini