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When Renata Tolentino left Brazil and moved to London, she felt the need to carry a piece of her country with her.

With no particular plan in mind, she spoke with designer friends and asked for samples of their work to take along. She collected unique pieces that reflected the culture and people of the city where she grew up and traveled with a suitcase filled with crafts, knowing she would come up with a space for them in her new life.

A year later, ‘The Samambaia’ was born. A marketplace for South American designs in the UK, featuring its most iconic and authentic materials. Its first retail spot was the Broadway Market in East London, with all its eclectic mixture of styles and cultures. Then, the project went online following the initial motivation of taking the concept further.

All of the products are carefully made out of local materials such as gemstones from Rio Grande du Sul, wood from the Atlantic Forest, essential oil and soya wax from Sao Paulo, leather from Argentinean Pampas and wool from the Patagonia, that in the hands of innovative designers become unique pieces.

“Our mission is to promote talented South American artisans and celebrate their art and techniques, encouraging fair trade and responsibly sourced products,” says Renata.

‘Samambaia’ is the Portuguese word for the plant Fern, which grows naturally in every balcony and terrace in Brazil. The project supports the spirit of that plant: to let local crafts and autochthonous materials expand and take over new territories.