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British Council reveals winner of Lina Bo Bardi fellowship

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The third Lina Bo Bardi fellowship has been handed to theatre and opera director Finn Beames

Beames is set to travel to Brazil in October for a six-week research trip to explore the work of Bo Bardi.

His research will focus on Bo Bardi’s stage design and her relationship with theatre making. Finn will also look at the behaviour of those occupying spaces designed by the Brazilian architect and is aiming to create a piece of theatre which encourages the audience to consider their relationship to architecture.

Finn, who is currently artistic director at bodycorps, an opera and theatre company which he founded in 2011, said: ‘It seems to me that Bo Bardi’s work possesses many of the features of a dramatic event - narrative, character, relationships.

‘Just as drama can be uplifting, or depressing, or boring, so can a building, and it is by seeking out what creates such feelings that I hope to experience Bo Bardi’s architecture.’

João Guarantani, senior programme manager for Architecture Design Fashion at the British Council, said: ‘We were excited by the fresh look Finn Beames’ theatre practice could bring to the discussion of Lina’s work internationally.

‘She is famous for her radical designs for theatre spaces such as Teatro Oficina and the theatre at SESC Pompeia in São Paulo, as well as the recently reopened Gregório de Matos theatre in Salvador.

‘In addition to a thorough exploration of these sometimes overlooked projects by Lina, Finn’s proposal aims to reveal the theatrical qualities of her other built projects and how they are activated by performances of the everyday.’

This year the award focused on encouraging applicants from backgrounds other than architecture to apply for the funding and those applying were considered under two categories – alternative practice and regeneration.

Began in 2013, the British Council’s Lina Bo Bardi fellowship aims to raise awareness and understanding of the Brazilian architect’s contribution to architecture, while providing links between the UK and Brazil.

Last year the fellowship was awarded to Laura Smith, a founder of design studio Make Do & Draw, who focused her research on the process of drawing and making in Bo Bardi’s work.

The fellowship is part of the British Council’s four year Transform programme - a series of arts and cultural exchanges between the UK and Brazil in the run up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Born in Rome at the start of the First World War, Bo Bardi arrived in Brazil shortly after the Second World War.

She left a legacy in the Latin American country as an architect, set designer, editor, illustrator, furniture designer and curator.

Bo Bardi’s own house on the outskirts of Sao Paulo became an icon of Brazilian modernist architecture.

Yet she rejected the term ‘modernism’, refusing to be aligned with either modernist or post-modernism in Brazil.

Previous story (AJ 26.08.15)

Second Lina Bo Bardi fellowship awarded

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