This São Paulo flat looks about as modernist as it gets. Filled with an expertly curated array of modernist furniture pieces and overlooking the Ibriapuera Park (designed by legendary Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscape designer Otávio Augusto Teixeira Mendes), it would come as no surprise to see the pictures displayed in a textbook definition of the style.
So, it is quite ironic that the apartment block itself has few modernist credentials of its own. Instead, it was the enterprise of the owners themselves and their enthusiasm for modernist design which produced this modern gem.
To carry out the redesign, the owners enlisted the help of architect Flavio Castro of FCstudio. Remaining heavily involved throughout the refit, the owners were keen to have the flat better suit their modernist tastes, namely, by having the main passageways renegotiated so as to maximise the number of possibilities to enjoy the scene outside the apartment. It was a reasonable endeavour, especially given that the apartment offers such an exceptional view of Ibirapuera, along with the Ibirapuera Auditorium, the Oca dome, and the covered pathway known as the Marquise, which links various structures in the park.
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This effort reflects an impressive attempt to create a dialogue with the landscape outside the apartment, quite difficult in a space many stories above the ground. Also relevant in this regard, a palette of blue and green has been used throughout the apartment, so as to accentuate the link with the park the apartment overlooks.
But much more than the dialogue with the outdoors, undoubtedly the most striking nod to modernist design is, of course, the aforementioned furniture collection…
It would take too long to list all the pieces in the collection, but to name a few: the small living room features two Paraty chairs designed by Sergio Rodrigues; these face two beautiful Isa chairs by Jader Almeida; in the office, there is an original 1961 Mole armchair and ottoman, also designed by Sérgio Rodrigues; two of Eero Saarinen’s Womb chairs face a Ring bench, specially designed by the architect; and in amongst the period pieces are a number of exceptional contemporary designs, such as a series of Carbon Chairs by Dutch designers Bertjan Pot and Marcel Wanders, which surround the dining table.
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This wide spectrum of modern and period furniture pieces could come across as quite overwhelming, but the composition has been handled rather well. The vivid colours and array of geometric patterns offered by the beautifully crafted furniture at times gives the impression of gazing not at a home but a cubist painting, or a work of Italian-Brazilian painter Alfredo Volpi, who was indeed the inspiration for the striking, triangle-patterned wooden wall panel.
Photos Pedro Kok
Taken in combination with efforts to engage with the space beyond the apartment’s immediate confines, the tasteful arrangement of beautiful chairs is more than enough to make this an exceptional homage to the modernist movement, and testament to the fact that exceptional modernist design is something not limited to mid-century homes of Eichler and the like.