Bjarke Ingels is the go-to golden boy for Big Tech – and now Brazil’s Bolsonaro wants a bit of his magic. But should architects boycott oppressive leaders? Do their buildings glorify their ideology?
Sun-kissed walkways in the sky, platefuls of seafood ceviche, a private helicopter pickup from the beach – the Instagram account of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has unfolded like an escapist travelogue epic in recent weeks, as his adventures in Latin America have taken their place in his dizzying globetrotting itinerary. But there is one photograph he hasn’t been so keen to share with his 730,000 followers: of him standing next to Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-right president, with the uneasy smile of a man who’s just secured his latest big commission from another unsavoury despot, in this case one who has boasted of being “proudly” homophobic.
According to a statement from Brazil’s ministry of tourism, Ingels visited Brazil to tour several states and discuss strategies for developing sustainable tourism on its north-east coast, in partnership with the Nômade Group, which recently built an eco-conscious luxury resort in Tulum, the ruins of a Mayan walled city in Mexico.