Cover of the review
Qualimetria, published by FAAP, highlighting the involvement
of Architecture and Urbanism students in the 6th São Paulo International Biennial of Architecture and Design.
 


SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS: TRAINED PROFESSIONALS FOR THE MODERN
WORLD

The cultural supplements of Brazil's main newspapers splashed the heading: "Swiss cows invade São Paulo." The item was one of the highlights of a tourism-and-culture event promoted by the Swiss consulate and in fact referred to life-size sculptures of cows by Brazilian and foreign artists. First shown separately in different locations in São Paulo, these famous cattle were eventually brought to São Paulo for a major exhibition at FAAP in 2000 - where their unusual proportions and tone again showed the School's close association with art, and especially with the visual arts.

The School of Visual Arts was opened in the late 1960s as an educational project, but one that took on the dimensions of an ambitious dream, as a synthesis of the creative energy that directs the path of the Foundation. The first professors were leading figures in the arts - including Marcelo Grassman, Caciporé Torres, Renina Katz, Darel Valença, Mário Gruber, and Joaquim Manoel Ferreira. At that time, classes were taught in the art museum, and the School was compared to the School of Fine Arts in Rio, a benchmark in Brazil.

Today, there is an Art Education course and a qualification in Visual Arts at bachelor's degree level; Architecture and Urbanism, and Industrial Design courses; short courses in Arts and Fashion; a postgraduate program in Fashion and the Law; an mba in Luxury Management, and outreach courses at the Cultural Center. These are all converging, supplementary, or similar themes and are invariably associated with the professions and markets of the future. There can be no talk of the future without mentioning design, planning, and creativity to individualize work and careers, along with the collective and behavioral aspects affecting work in these fields. These professions depend on technological knowledge, a humanistic approach, and creativity - which are the three interconnective mainstays for courses at the School of Visual Arts and at FAAP as a whole.



The complex and constantly changing art market thrives on innovation, and FAAP stays in the forefront by constantly anticipating changes and updating its syllabus. The aim is to train professionals to meet the needs of this market. Pursuing the ideal of continuing education, the School of Visual Arts works with a range of educational and professional interests. Indeed, to revive the tradition that led to the school being founded, "free" or nondegree courses were again offered in 2003. There are some forty of these courses every year with leading professors focusing a wide range of aspects of the arts and culture (painting, sculpture, engraving, art history, photography, video, style, jewelry, and others). The artists involved have included Jac Leirner, Leda Catunda, Iran do Espírito Santo, Edgard de Souza, Caetano de Almeida, Keila Alaver, Laerte Ramos, Rogério Degaki, Carlito Contini, Lia Schaia, and Pazé. There is also a short course in arts with one semester minimum duration. Students choose their own subjects and compose a syllabus with guidance from the coordinators, having access to full infrastructure including workshops and studios.

The School encourages research and creates programs to promote meetings of professionals, top executives, entrepreneurs, members of government, and students, since the students of today will shape the world of tomorrow, and it is important that the people governing society understand this fact. Scholarships, small external remunerations, or monitored internships in the School or outside stimulate students to respond not only as potential artists but also as people who clearly perceive relations between art and human values and feel responsible for directing their efforts toward the good of others. International agreements with institutions such as the Louvre (Paris) or the Hermitage Museum (Saint Petersburg), the Kremlin Museum (Moscow) or Pergamon (Berlin) provide students with additional chances of obtaining more training, not to mention how important these exchange programs are for Brazilian culture.

ART EDUCATION AS QUALIFICATION INVISUAL ARTS (BACHELOR'S DEGREE)

Leading artists from a number of different generations have studied here, and the course has set standards for art education. Artists found support to defining their role in the world of visual art production. Educators have more opportunities to develop professional projects in this specific field, associating with schools, museums, cultural centers, and other organizations disseminating art and culture.

The eight-semester-long syllabus includes theoretical content (from art history to art criticism) and specific techniques, with practice in studios and design workshops, painting, engraving, pottery, modeling, wood, multimedia, and photography.

ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM

The course provides basic experiences of the kind that are very significant for achieving range and diversity in professional education. In 2000, a group of students went to Italy to follow restoration work on the façades and interiors of Palazzo Pamphili, which houses the Brazilian embassy and is key to understanding Baroque Rome. The project involving FAAP and the embassy was successful both in terms of professional training and the personal development of those involved. Architecture students also observed restoration project at the Lutetia building in the "Old Center" of São Paulo, which houses part of FAAP's museum, mab-FAAP. Equally important is the participation of students at the São Paulo International Biennials of Architecture and Design.

At the 5th Biennial, on the theme of The Metropolis, first place went to the project designed by FAAP students for the Brás neighborhood in São Paulo - specifically for a plaza (Largo da Concórdia) that was deteriorating fast. There was another first place award at the 6th Biennial, for the project Fragmentos da Luz - Uma Proposta de Unidade [literally Fragments of Light - A Proposal for Unity]. The jury was composed of leading international figures.

Using teaching methodology based on full use of computers to design and develop projects, the course lasts ten semesters and prepares students for the contemporary reality in the profession. Over five years, the range of disciplines taught covers the main areas of practice for architects in the Brazilian context. The aspects prioritized are housing, public buildings, commercial and industrial construction, and urbanism (city design and planning), with all the environmental, social, and economic implications.

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN

"Design" has become a synonym for modernity in the contemporary world, in which creative experience with functional objectives is decisive for success in different projects. For 21st-century consumer society, a quality product has to be environmentally and socially acceptable as well as culturally recognized. In its pursuit of excellence, the Industrial Design course at the School of Visual Arts pursues this rationale literally down to the smallest details.

The course offers qualifications in Graphic Design and Product Design. The former trains specialists with a profound study of all items that make graphic language an essential element of modern life: color, printing, photography, and diverse methods of producing images. Activities turn on planning to approach, discuss, understand, and produce technical, aesthetic, and economic aspects associated with the press, the printing industry, video, and graphic design in cityscapes.

Product Design is for students interested in developing products and objects and their social and technological aspects related to industry, and in using them to enhance quality of life. Every stage involved in planning a product is analyzed in workshops, and projects are developed by teams. Both courses have supplementary activities, such as the Design Week as well as lectures and seminars with leading professionals from this field.

FASHION - SHORT COURSE

The history of fashion is fascinating as a creative manifestation and cultural determinant in each age of human history, and this is reflected at FAAP. Prominent figures such as Pierre Cardin (for an inaugural class), Oscar de la Renta, Christian Lacroix, Jum Nakao, and Ocimar Versolato, Alexandre Herchcovitch and Reinaldo Lourenço - in fashion shows featured during the São Paulo Fashion Week - have been the Foundation's guests. In these situations, the glamour of incredible clothes and the credibility associated with these stylists become the pretext for serious educational projects in a professional field that is drawing evermore interest, especially in Brazil, where fashion has become a popular theme in recent decades.

FAAP has been teaching fashion since 1989, when Brazil's clothing industry was revolutionized as trade liberalization brought more imports - the course now has the status of a supplementary university course. It lasts two years and is open to candidates who have concluded secondary school or professionals who have graduated in other subjects. Highly experienced teaching staff help master applications of creative concepts and enable graduates to develop esthetically toward a differentiated style or way of working, so they can become agents of change in the fashion world with an understanding of the process as a whole, from designing collections and models to marketing textiles and clothing industry products.

POSTGRADUATION IN FASHION CREATION MANAGEMENT

In partnership with The Brazilian Textile Industry and Apparel Association (locally abit) and the São Paulo Art Museum (masp), FAAP started a postgraduate program in Fashion Creation Management. Starting in 2005, the course trains professionals for leading roles on the local and international fashion scenario. The idea is to set up a forum for discussing issues such as creative design, art, behavior, communication, technology, and the market, as different aspects of fashion with the aim of incorporating new artistic ideas and concepts to the industry.

Expanding the professional horizons of high-level designers and facilitating their involvement in the sector's companies are also course aims, as is innovative research into the languages of fashion to highlight the interaction between new textile technology and fashion design.

LUXURY MANAGEMENT

FAAP's School of Visual Arts is the only one in Brazil to offer Luxury Management as a totally innovative course that is fully integrated with internationalization and the new order in business.

Companies in what is known as the luxury goods segment have specific features positioning them on a high level of excellence. They differ from other sections in certain aspects of their work, from design to manufacture, from technology to material, and through to customers. They make objects of desire and the stuff of consumer dreams. Luxury has an emotional impact; it must be natural and not ostentatious and the approach is to create the sensation of being unattainable but not intimidating. This market turns over about 1.5 billion dollars per year in Brazil. However, a major difficulty for these foreign or local brands (or signature brands) involved in the internationalization process is the shortage of skilled designers, stylists, and managers. Even customer relations in this segment feature unconventional characteristics. At FAAP (one of the first to teach design in Brazil), the mba in Luxury Management was another early move. The two-year program comprises 588 units (468 in the classroom, eighty distance, and forty working on a thesis) and is aimed at graduates with fluent English and at least six years' experience of management positions. The basic concept is that luxury has to be managed with simplicity.