COFFEE MASK is a cabinet for living room use which is entirely made of handcrafted particularly colourful Amazonian woods with inserts of photographical images, acrylic and Japanese paper. Being an important furniture piece it refers as well to a significant historical issue of the city of San Paulo where this piece has been created during our Artist-in-Residence program: The coffee cultivation.




Coffee was the main reason for the cities impressive growth from 1850 and especially at the end of the 19th century. Therefore, the cabinet reveals through images many signs which are related to the coffee like coffee plantations, antique objects and typical coffee filter, country life versus city life with its skyscrapers and the cutting-edge penthouse on the top of the first skyscraper made of reinforced concrete in South America called the Martinelli building – built by one of the main precursors of the coffee “boom” in the beginning of the 20th century. Many more references can be found, for example stamps of European immigrants who arrived at the port of Santos as well as invitation letters from the Hostelry in San Paulo, brand marks of slaves, Japanese playing cards used during train journeys, the outstanding infrastructure like railways, locomotives and steamships, details of the first train stations in San Paulo and the ocean where everybody needed to cross ... This piece is intended to be discovered from all sides and through several visual layers!


Photo: Ruy Teixeira



The wooden openings in the front part of the cabinet form a stylized mask which was inspired by the Walù mask, a mythical antelope mask still used for rituals related to soil practiced by the Dogon people in Mali. During the centuries of slavery which ended officially in 1888 many West Africans arrived in the new land – who contributed like the indigenous inhabitants as well as the huge amount of foreign nationalities to the at least 140 terms of skin colour shades. Definitely a very narrative and anthropological piece!

Used materials: handcrafted Amazonian woods (Jequitiba, Muirapiranga, Cedro, Roxinho, Freijo, Sucupira), acrylic, 16 lambda prints, Japanese handmade paper, metal

Dimensions: cm L 133 x D 42 x H 220 | unique edition: 10 + 1 a.p.


Concept: Nat Wilms | Design: Nat Wilms & Andrea Zambelli