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Here Now, a Furniture Shop Designed as a 'Rich Shantytown'

Inspired by the phrase "happiness is the magic that turns everything to gold," Brazilian design firm Albus recently created an extravagant display showcasing the disparity between rich and poor. For a furniture store. Inside the Gobbi Novelle shop in Porto Alegre, Brazil, "Rich Shantytown"—a coarse translation of the project's title, "Favela Rica"—has transformed opulence into the ridiculous, with gold chairs, Swarovski crystal chandeliers, and excessively ornate mirrors. Upon closer inspection, though, all that decadence is roughed up in minor ways: the wall paper is peeling, the art is fake, and peeking a hillside lined with shabby homes peeks through the window panes. Also in the space, hanging over a pristine dining room table, is a nearly 10-foot-wide replica of photographer David LaChapelle's "Last Supper," a play off the famed da Vinci painting that shows Jesus with the poor and marginalized people of this millenium. The result is compellingly political, even if the designers aimed to infuse the store with a tone of "happiness, sophistication, and humor." Most likely the campaign means to evoke a "richness-is-defined-by-what-you-value" philosophy, but by burrowing into some heavy themes, "Rich Shanty Town" may have failed to fulfill its own humor requisite. Still, a fascinating thought experiment.

· Brazilian Furniture Store Focused On Wealth and Poverty [Freshome]