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Wunderman Thompson’s City Guide to Inspiration in Nature: Rio de Janeiro


Sabrina Villar, creative director at Wunderman Thompson Brazil, on how she finds inspiration from nature, the sun and the ever-changing sea

Wunderman Thompson’s City Guide to Inspiration in Nature: Rio de Janeiro

As the world’s leading researcher on inspiration, Wunderman Thompson knows a thing or two about the psychological link between people’s value systems and their sources of inspiration to predict how humanity will be inspired. In Wunderman Thompson’s Inspire InFocus report, being outdoors in nature ranked number one as the top of source of inspiration globally. Even though life is starting to “get back to normal”, many of our new habits formed during the pandemic, such as taking walks during work breaks or exploring nature in our own backyard, have endured. 

As we yearn to move, connect, and get off a plane and stretch our legs, out of a conference hall into fresh air, leave the confines of a hotel room, or even take a walking meeting or lunch in a park vs. a restaurant, here are some ideas for the next time you find yourself in some of the most inspirational cities around the world, for business or pleasure.


Name: Sabrina Villar

Title: Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson Brazil


City: Rio de Janeiro

Hi, my name is Sabrina. I'm "carioca", Mia's mother and a creative director at Wunderman Thompson Brazil. I was born in Rio de Janeiro, a city that is sunny and warm practically all year round - and I believe that this might have influenced the optimistic way I see life. When I was young I studied at a high school in Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro, a place surrounded by nature. Without a doubt, nature was one of my most inspiring teachers. With it I learned about cycles, the importance of renovation and respect for time. These are all concepts that I try to bring with me to my personal and, especially, to my professional life. For me, being surrounded by nature is an inexhaustible source of transformation and creativity. Every time I connect with nature, I come back better and more open minded than I was before.

Q> When do you find you crave inspiration in nature and where do you find it? 

Sabrina> I definitely find inspiration in nature every day, and I don't need to go too far to find it. The first thing I do when I wake up is to go to my balcony and check the weather. The view never changes, of course. But the sky, the temperature and the colours are never the same as the day before. This motivates me and inspires me to think that, even though we are following a routine, there are a lot of things we can do differently every day. 

Q> Where is the best place to people watch in Rio De Janeiro?

Sabrina> I love walking on the beach up to Arpoador with my daughter. We get some coconut water and rest on the curb while watching people pass by on bikes, skateboards, walking their dogs, working or simply just watching the ocean.

The waterfront is a very dynamic place that brings people together from all over the city and the world. In fact, it is very common to leave your house without any plans and find friends or meet new people there. But this is just one example. Rio de Janeiro is an incredibly diverse city and I believe you can see very interesting people on any street corner!

Q> What’s your favourite hike or walk?   

Sabrina> Twice a week I like to run at Lagoa or at Leblon beach. For me, connecting with the nature of these places helps to ward off cyclical thinking, where the same ideas repeat themselves and stop thought processes that could bring new ideas to the table. 

Also, I walk my daughter to school every morning. She studies at a place in a garden in the middle of the Atlantic Forest. As soon as I enter there with her, I feel immediately calm, with a refreshed mind. 

Q> Which season inspires you the most in your part of the world and why? 

Sabrina> Summer is the season that inspires me the most. I love the sun, the hot weather and to see the effervescence of people on the streets, enjoying the beach even at night. This season definitely fills me with energy. Not to mention the summer rains, which are fast and very strong. This kind of rain lasts about five minutes and then everything goes back to normal, but much cooler and more pleasant than before. For me, it's the perfect metaphor for how a break, no matter how fast it is, can influence the rest of our day.

Q> What’s your favourite park/botanical garden/body of water and why? 

Sabrina> The Moreira Salles Institute is one of my favorite places to escape mental fatigue. It's a cultural center that is already a work of art in itself, with gardens designed by Burle Marx and the green of the Atlantic Forest. In my opinion, urban chaos demands a lot of our attention and overloads our cognitive functions. Going to IMS Rio, I can feel a silence and an aesthetic that helps me connect with my thoughts and think creatively.

Picture by @LeônidasPires

Picture by @LeônidasPires

Q> Anything else to add that might involve wildlife, especially critters or birds or a specific example of when you were inspired by nature?

Sabrina> Here in Rio it is very common to see marmoset monkeys walking along the trees, walls or wires. They are quite small but generally very interactive and friendly. I challenge anyone to see them and not smile immediately.

Picture by @LeônidasPires

Q> And how about quick day trip or weekend trip to somewhere near your location?

Sabrina> Itaipava or Petrópolis are great options for those who want to take a quick trip around here. Despite being very close to Rio, they are cities in the mountains with a completely different climate. They inspire a more introspective approach - after all, they’re places we cariocas can visit to remind us what the cold is like! 

Q> Best place for a run/swim or other form of exercise outside? 

Sabrina> For those who like to swim but are tired of counting tiles in the pool, a good option could be the swimming lessons at Forte de Copacabana, an old military base with a great view at the end of the beach. Besides being great exercise, you can be inspired by the sea's magical mixture of flexibility and consistency. Depending on the day, the sea can be high, low, calm or troubled. It follows the weather. But on the other hand, no matter what, it's always there just being the sea! If you do decide to book one of the swimming lessons, you can get to know the sea from this different point of view.

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Wunderman Thompson Sao Paulo, Mon, 13 Feb 2023 17:25:00 GMT