We walk through rua Vinicius de Moraes in the direction of Ipanema Beach. On the corner we pass a small café where the same Vinicius wrote the famous song The Girl from Ipanema, which was performed by Astrud Gilberto, Frank Sinatra and other legends.
We’re on our way to meet Oskar Metsavaht, a man of many talents: fashion designer, creator, filmmaker, artist, entrepreneur… the list is long, the talents are diverse.
For some time now we have been hearing about Oskar and his groundbreaking work on sustainability and the environment. His fashion brand Osklen focuses strongly on the promotion of a sustainable lifestyle, using alternative natural fabrics and addressing important environmental themes in his different collections.
When we arrive at the beach we take off our shoes and walk through the hot sand in the direction of the ocean. Ipanema is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most famous beachfront bairros and the source of inspiration for the Carioca lifestyle, a laidback way of life that centres on sports, beach life and partying. It is also where Oskar gets much of his inspiration.
Over the years, Oskar’s reputation as an environmental visionary has spread far beyond Brazil’s borders, earning him a place among the 100 most creative people in the world of business. More recently, he received the title of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 2011 for his ongoing efforts to promote a culture of peace, social inclusion and sustainable development.
We’re walking in the direction of Arpoador where the beach ends and the waves crash onto a large rock, turning the ocean into a surfers’ playground. We know that Oskar himself is a surfer and imagine that he might even bring his surfboard to the meeting…
A few years ago Oskar founded instituto e, a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable human development. Since then, instituto e has spearheaded several environmental and social projects across Brazil to protect and preserve the country’s natural resources. Projects range from the creation of the ‘selo e’ – a sustainability index for food, fabrics and other products – to the protection of parts of the Brazilian coastline and the creation of nature reserves.
After a 15-minute stroll, we reach our rendezvous spot: Arpoador. On the beach some people are playing foot volley and a group of surfers in the water waits patiently for the perfect wave. As we are early, we sit down on the stone walkway overlooking the ocean, still clutching our shoes. “I love Rio, where else can you have business meetings on the beach?”
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