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The Essential List: Gustavo Karam



The executive producer of Le Cube and Final Frontier can’t stop stealing his girlfriend’s bike and reveals a hidden gem in the Chinese food landscape

The Essential List: Gustavo Karam

Gustavo Karam is a partner at award-winning animation studio Le Cube, which has offices in Buenos Aires and São Paulo and has produced some of our favourite commercial animation in recent years. Gustavo recently made the move to Shanghai to launch Final Frontier, a China-based group of international animation studios including Le Cube, Tendril, Can Can Club and BleedVFX. As such, his Essential List has a pleasingly cross-continental vibe. 

Check it!


o Place of birth: The beautiful land of Brazil.  

o Hometown: Shanghai.

o Staycation: Always at restaurants, bars and clubs, most of the time eating and drinking, making new friends, always seeking adventures.  

o Vacation: New York in the spring, Europe in the summer, Bahia in the winter, Sao Paulo during Carnival… I think everywhere at least during one season. 

o Pet: Heart is currently closed for new pets, still in mourning for my Cartola. 

o Place of work: My favourite office is still Le Cube studio in Buenos Aires, but Final Frontier’s Shanghai office in a co-working space is super fun. 

o Place of workout: Just need the weights, good music and a protein shake after. 

o Side project: I live for unexpected adventures, that’s my side project. 

o Mode of transport: Before Uber (can’t drink and drive), now I’m in love with my GF’s news bike. I steal it at any chance I can. Probably buying one soon, it’s China after all. I tried Bird in Santa Monica, CA. Also super cool. 

o Bonus Travel Essential: No limits for anything when travelling, be alive on the flight back is the only rule. 


o Artist: Rimón Guimaraes, Bruno 9li... that’s just some Brazilians to start. So happy to live in a moment with so many great artists everywhere. Here in Shanghai there is a Canadian artist called Omacke. I just bought a nice silkscreen from him. 

o Musician: Argh… so many… Bonobo, Nicolas Jaar, Fleet Foxes, Tim Maia, Devendra, Johnny Cash… grew up listening to Beatles and Zeppelin, and lost innocence with Nirvana, Pixies and Sonic Youth, you can imagine the profile.

o Commercials / music video director: Canada.

o Film director: Wes Anderson (I know, I know, but he's fucking great). 

o Photographer: Maria Svarbova.

o Film: Another tough one… Akira, sci-fi sometimes and I’m loving watching the Marvel universe.


o Series: Rick & Morty (I’m Pickle Rickkk!).

o Commercial: Maybe the one with the Gorilla from Juan Cabral for Cadbury.  

o Music Video: Tame Impala ‘The Less I Know The Better’.

o Video Game: GTA V (Last one I played) 

o Board Game: Risk, and I always win (that time didn’t count Janara =P) 

o Book: Latest good one was ‘The Power of Habit’ from Charles Duhigg; but of all time it’s Rayuela from Julio Cortázar.

o Graphic Novel: Punk Rock Jesus, Hellblazer, V for Vendetta, Sandman…  

o Podcast a.k.a. my favourite way to consume information: Serial, Hard Core History, Song Exploder, 99% Invisible, Radiolab and from Brazil Xadrez Verbal and Nerdcast.

o Bonus Culture Essential: Vinyl always. 

Food and Drink

o Breakfast: Bloody Mary.

o Restaurant: So many, but I think Borago by Rodolfo Guzmán in Santiago, Chile. 

o Cheap bite: Sheng jian bao (a type of dumpling).

o Working lunch: Anything fast and with quinoa and kale.  

o Favourite Dish: Impossible to define, I like good food.       

o Signature Dish: Shrimp Thai Green Curry is my comfort zone of the moment, but used to be my ossobuco with polenta.  

o Snack: Fruits and juices! 

o Guilty Pleasure: Hong Shao Rou (Chinese sticky pork belly)

o Bar: So many, to name a few: Bar No3 Shanghai, Galley Bar in London, Elephanta in Barcelona, Sub Astor in Sao Paulo, Anasagast Bar in Buenos Aires.

o Booze: Penicillin.

o Not Booze: Carrot + Orange + Ginger Juice.


o Bonus Beverage: A cold rosé wine from Cotê de Provence, that’s an acquired taste that comes with the profession.


o Phone: iPhone

o Computer: MacBook Pro with all possible upgrades.

o TV: Any new one paired with a good sound system.

o Headphones: Airpods.

o Camera: Panasonic LX-100

o Soundsystem: JBL/ Kanto. 

o Pen / pencil: BIC. 

o Where you document an idea: Phone Notes

o Casual Clothing: Blue navy bottom shirt

o Smart Clothing: Always blue navy.

o Footwear: Brown leather boots or Onitsuka.

o Watch: Lilienthal Berlin.

o Collection: Used to have a vinyl, booze, books, comics and brown boots collection, now I’m on a more minimalist path. Less is freedom.

o App: WeChat 

o Website: 

o Blog: 

o Work program: Excel 

o Digital work tool: VPN

o Analogue work tool: Pack of cigarettes. 

o Morning grooming / makeup essential: Imperial pomade

o Bonus Kit Essential: If you ever go to Sao Paulo the best barber is there, his name is Aldo from Barbearia Cavalera – free advertising because this guy deserves it.

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Le Cube, Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:02:27 GMT