Branco & Preto was the name of an architecture and design shop opened in 1952 in São Paulo. Open until 1970, the store can be defined as one of the forerunners of interior architecture and modern furniture in Brazil.

The architects Miguel Forte, Jacob Ruchti, Plínio Croce, Roberto Aflalo, Carlos Millan together with the Chinese architect Chen Y Hwa managed the store. The whole group, graduates of Mackenzie Architecture University, had a common interest in modern architecture and in the early 1950s they realized that there was a gap in the modern furniture market in São Paulo. The purpose of the store was therefore to offer modern design to the elite of São Paulo.

The atmosphere of São Paulo in the 1940s and 1950s was one of lively regeneration, not only in infrastructure projects but also in the fields of art and architecture. Participating in this renovation process, young architects started working in offices designing houses and buildings, faced with the new task of furnishing a modern house.

The group designed not only furniture but also curtains, lamps and carpets. Following the idea of Frank Lloyd Wright, who famously thought of the house from the inside out, stating that furniture should be understood as a “complement of architecture”. Handcrafted with Brazilian hardwoods, combined with glass, iron, formica and marble, the furniture was seen as an extension of the materials of each residence. With high prices aimed at São Paulo’s elite, the shop often served customers who had houses signed by one of the group’s architects.

Over time the designs became increasingly sophisticated, rational and geometric; each project had lightness and simplicity. Colors such as beige and gray, used for upholstery and curtains, were combined with black or white stripes. The sobriety of the tones and stripes revealed the distance taken from the flashes, figurative prints and excess of ornaments of previous years.

The Branco & Preto shop allowed a part of the society of those years to understand the meaning of furniture design.