I imagine the designer, or team of designers, floating in Rio de Janeiro sky looking down at the city, viewing it as a huge, intricate carpet. They give a lot of thought to setting apart the bases of particular objects, such as lamp posts (see the top image). They aim to take care of you, laying a carpet at your feet, guiding you to the entrances of buildings by marking paths through the pavement. They lead you to the street crossing. They set off islands of black and white designs for street benches, and decorate with borders the edge of the pavement. They give identity to each street by giving it its own signature design, the most notable example being the beautiful wave design of the pavement at Copacabana beach.
Here are a few examples:
And here is another site that shows many more designs. Enjoy.