Sergio entered Oca with the Mocho stool in his hand
The 1955 creation of Oca, the store that revolutionized the idea of furniture in Rio de Janeiro, was a major overturn in Sergio's professional life. With no project to do and a family to support, Sergio arrived in Rio in late 1954, coming from his experience with Forma, in São Paulo, to try his luck. With "a corner" his father-in-law had offered him at his office, Sergio started working. But nothing worked out. He knew his future lay in creation; however, he envisioned creating a high-level store with top-notch furniture, something that would look a lot like Forma. With his prior experience, Sergio knew he could get in touch with major furniture makers. "I stuck my neck out and did it. That was when the great thing came up, which was Oca." A store that was linked to the history of industrial design in Brazil.
The idea was great. However, I had to find a partner and a good place. Sergio started looking for a partner who could make his project feasible. He found the Italian count Leoni Paolo Grasselli. A natural merchant from Bergamo, Grasselli had a glassware shop in Africa and ended up coming to Brazil with Carlo Hauner. Sergio knew him from São Paulo. "He was enthusiastic about the idea and we took off to make history. I went head on to City Hall to speak with the authorities, and they agreed to talk. I thought it was possible to build a pavilion on the sand. And it almost was."
Since Sergio never thought about money, but trusted work, he went in pursuit of possibilities. The first place that was suggested was on the Leblon beach. Not at the Delfim Moreira avenue, but on the beach itself, on the sand. They later found a piece of land at Chácara 92, between the Bartolomeu Mitre and General Urquiza streets, but at that time, free of buildings, the place was practically on the beach. At first, the proposal was to build a pavilion. Of course, you had to get permission from the City, know how it could be done, and if it would be legal to build a pavilion there.
It was all planned. Sergio had not only arranged the furniture from Artesanal that would be resold in Rio, but also from other major São Paulo firms. There were rugs, Dominici light fixtures, Italian furniture. "We were ready to go." There was only a little problem: Where the money to fund the store opening would come from. Sergio believed the idea was so good that when people heard about the project, the money would appear.