One of the most satisfying transitions into adulthood is the moment when you can officially say that nothing in your home could be assembled with just an Allen wrench and a set of wordless, cartoon instructions.
There’s the feeling of permanence, sure, but it’s also much easier to make conversation with dinner party guests (another adult milestone) when, say, you can count the exact number of rings in the tree used to make your coffee table. It’s a distinction Richard Velloso appreciates, so much so that he left behind a job in advertising to launch Olga Guanabara in 2011—and he never looked back. “Furniture has always appealed to me, as it's at the center of our everyday lives—meals around the dining room table, feet up on the coffee table while relaxing on the couch,” the Brazilian expat says. “I wanted to contribute to people’s surroundings and be a part of their future memories. The atmosphere of a room is very important to setting the mood.”
Clearly, Velloso—who cites a list of inspirations like old-school architects, family members, and the design clash so often seen in Brooklyn neighborhoods—has found a few people who agree. With a recent West Elm collaboration and a growing number of visitors to his DUMBO workspace (at least some of whom, it’s safe to say, are there to pay homage to Olga, his 10-year-old chocolate lab and the company’s namesake), Velloso’s plans to expand his reach into restaurants, hotels, and his “first set of buildings” seem not just justified but absolutely necessary. It also seems like one of his biggest goals—for his pieces to stick around in families for “generations,” and, we assume, serve as the catalyst for countless conversations to come—is already well underway.
Richard Velloso of Olga Guanabara