The experience in São Paulo definitely brought him close to creation
The year was 1954. Sergio went to São Paulo with his family and ended up living in a big, two-floor house near the Móveis Artesanal factory, in the district today known as Itaim Bibi. "Life then became scandalous."
The experience in São Paulo definitely brought him close to creation. "I used to go to the factory in Itaim a lot, and that was where I first came into contact with a furniture factory, its machines and its issues." His first furniture had been created in Curitiba - a game table and a desk -, made at a small workshop and sold at Móveis Artesanal. To him, the plant made high-level furniture, with a wonderful finish. "I was excited, and used to spend the whole day there, imagining things. And I already risked making a few drawings."
That was when Carlo and Ernesto Hauner and other partners invited him to head the interior architecture creation department at the newly opened Forma store, in São Paulo, a large furniture factory, but still linked to the functionalist language that dominated international design at the time. Already working at Forma, which occupied a three-story house on Barão de Itapetininga street, Sergio started risking more drawings. He would make separate parts, such as tea and side tables.
At that time, Sergio met Lina Bo Bardi, who showed up at the factory to order a few of her designs. Lina created pieces for her architecture projects that were considered cutting-edge those days, and Sergio developed a friendship with her that included long conversations about modern furniture. In the city of São Paulo, he also met leading architects such as Ícaro Castro Mello and J. Vilanova Artigas, who often visited Forma, and the creator of the modernist house, Gregori Warchavchik. Those were precious exchanges between the young architect who dreamed of creating furniture and important exponents of modernity in architecture and furniture.
With his creative streak already wishing to be unleashed, one day Sergio drew a wonderful table and a sturdy couch that he named the Hauner sofa as a tribute to his friend. "He was very enthusiastic about it." It was a wooden frame sofa, with a seat and back, loose cushions, and a shelf behind it. But when he presented the project to the other partners it was shot down. "I was hugely disappointed. I put everything I had into that piece. I believed in it. The company was no longer Artesanal, because the partners had changed. It was Forma. Full of arrogance, Martin Eisler, one of the partners, said: 'Sergio, stop designing furniture. This is not for you, you have no future in it. What you are doing is trash. Who would buy it?'"