Jose Zanine Caldas (1918-2001) was a self taught artist, designer and architect from Bahia. At twenty he moved to Rio and worked in an architectural scale model shop where he met and worked with modernist architects Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa. He went on to work as a producer of furniture, an landscape designer and a modeling teacher. In the 1950's he returned to his hometown and was inspired by local craftsmen who carved canoes and rowboats from felled trees, Zanine then began experimenting, by chiseling furniture directly from huge logs.
A life-long proponent of forest protection, Zanine attempted to plant a new tree every time a tree was taken down for one of his projects, he was passionate about the power of solid wood as a material.