David Elia’s ‘Desmatamento’ captured the vulnerability of Brazil’s rainforest and the emotional toll of its continuing destruction.

Despite reductions in deforestation over the last ten years, at the current rate, the Amazon rainforest will be reduced by 40 per cent by 2030. David Elia’s goal in creating the installation ‘Desmatamento’ (or Deforestation) was not only to give voice to ecological anger but to share the beauty and emotional significance of the rainforest to Brazil. “Human emotion is vital to the continuation of this healthy and thriving ecosystem,” he said.

Visitors entered a room furnished with stools crafted from the branches of found Eucalyptus trees – a fast-growing species that is widely used in Brazil for reforestation. Because it is cultivated on a short rotation, the wood is produced sustainably, helping to preserve the native forests from logging. On the walls, a printed wallpaper evoked the breathtaking Mata Atlântica rainforest, which stretches along Brazil’s east coast. “The printed design evokes the topography of the tropical forests where various sizes and shapes of plants coexist,” said Elia. “The blue pigment at the base of the trunks symbolises the mark used by forest wardens to indicate trees that are to be saved.”

Beyond its symbolic resonances, ‘Desmatamento’ was also intended to capture the sense of being in a rainforest. A bespoke aroma created an 'imaginary portal' into the Mata Atlântica, immersing visitors in this fragile world. “It is a constant reminder of this delicate ecosystem,” said Elia, “and the emotional uncertainty it causes to many living beings.”

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Photography: Ed Reeve



David Elia Design Studio


Waldick Jatoba

Film Director:

Tünde Albert

Supporting Bodies:

MADE Mercado Arte Design, Instituto Bardi / Casa de Vidro, Instituto Campana

2018 Exhibitors