Web Extra: A Look at the Firmeza Foundation

One of the Firmeza Foundation’s recent projects—a block of buildings in Rio’s Santa Marta community were transformed. Image courtesy Firmeza Foundation.

If you read the print edition of FORM, you’ll definitely remember Michael Webb’s fascinating story Color and the City, investigating the role that color does or doesn’t play in today’s urban fabric. To illustrate the article, we included an image from the Firmeza Foundation of a Brazilian favela the group had painted.

The Firmeza Foundation got its start back in 2006 when the Dutch duo of Haas&Hahn (aka Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhan) began painting murals in Villa Cruzeiro, one of Rio’s most infamous slums. Familiar with the area since the previous year when they shot a documentary on the hip-hop scene in the favelas of Rio and São Paolo for MTV, the pair recruited local children to be a part of the endeavor.  Completed in 2007 and 2008 respectively, the murals have garnered international attention.

More recently, the pair painted a group of buildings at the entrance to the central square in Rio’s community of Santa Marta (and featured in FORM). At the moment, they’re in the United States, in Philadelphia, working on yet another painting. 

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