Tenreiro was born into a family of woodworkers in Melo, Portugal in 1906. Tenreiro’s father and grandfather were both master woodworkers and Tenreiro trained under them learning the craft, later becoming referred to as the pioneer of modernist Brazilian furniture making.
At the age of 22 Tenreiro moved to Brazil and embarked on a career in furniture and design where he began working for traditional furniture manufactures such as Francisco Gomes and Leandro Martins, who catered to affluent Brazilian families.
In the early 1940s, Tenreiro established Langenbach & Tenreiro and moved away from traditional aesthetics in favour of a more European modernist style and introduced lighter construction methods into the Brazilian furniture culture.
Tenreiro was known to favour chairs and chaises which combined traditional values and modern aesthetics such as slender, softly angled frames constructed using robust woods indigenous to Brazil such as imbuia, peroba. He combined these materials with cane and wicker, allowing the seats and backrests to breath in the Brazilian climate – If you want to learn more about cane and wicker, we went in detail here.
In the 50’s Tenreiro began to gain recognition and he’s career flourished with collaborations with architect Oscar Niemeyer where he designed custom furniture for contemporary homes. Tenreiro’s designs are still sought after and his work demonstrates the demand for superb craftsmanship and simple design, thoughtfully executed.