Built in the late 1950s, the 25-storey Saint Honoré apartment tower is one of the most iconic buildings on Avenida Paulista, a central thoroughfare in São Paulo, Brazil. Commissioned to renovate one of the building’s apartments, local architects Memola Estudio, working in collaboration with architectural designer Vitor Penha, could have easily embraced a design language of contemporary minimalism in line with the property’s modernist legacy. Instead, the team have chosen to boldly combine an industrial aesthetic with handcrafted and vintage elements, imbuing the space with a loft-like sensation. Exposed concrete and masonry surfaces lined with visible pipework are softened by timber, ceramic and fabric furnishings while contemporary pieces mixed with mid-century finds and eclectic artworks add touches of sophistication. The result is an understated yet intriguing apartment of timeless appeal and low-key elegance.
The team’s bold stylistic approach is matched by the new layout which required numerous walls being demolished to create a spacious social area. Centred on an open-plan living and dining room, the space also includes a study and kitchen separated by movable partitions. Incorporating folding doors and sliding window panels, the custom-made partitions feature a wooden panel in the bottom, clear glass in the top and patterned glass in between for privacy. The meticulously crafted partitions were designed in contrast to the rugged concrete surfaces and exposed brickwork that dominate the space as was the herringbone flooring. The latter is a nod to the property’s mid-century heritage with wooden inlays demarcating the position of the original walls that were demolished.
Stripped down to the building’s concrete and masonry core, and lined with visible pipework, junction boxes and cable trays painted in white, the apartment exudes some serious loft vibes, enhanced by the stainless-steel kitchen cabinets and an industrial light pendant over the dining table, whilst conveying a certain nostalgic mid-century charm thanks to the aforementioned wood and glass partitions and parquet flooring as well as a hand-picked vintage furniture. Mixed with contemporary pieces and artworks, ultimately the apartment’s decor paints a more nuanced picture that successfully blurs the lines between industrial, modernist and modern.