Commissioned by a young family with two daughters to renovate a spacious apartment near Ibirapuera Park, a verdant oasis in the heart of São Paulo, local architecture practice Pascali Semerdjian Arquitetos created an eclectically styled home that channels the soulful elegance of Brazilian mid-century modernism along with São Paulo’s urban dynamism and cosmopolitan elan. A design language of rounded forms softens an otherwise clean-cut aesthetic of contemporary minimalism while rugged concrete expanses juxtaposed with impeccably crafted timber and stone surfaces imbue the spaces with a sense of sombre materiality. An eclectic selection of vintage and contemporary furniture pieces by both iconic and emerging Brazilian and Scandinavian designers adds playful touches that further enhance the project’s craftsmanship and sculptural appeal in combination with the owners’ growing art collection.
The apartment is divided into two zones, a social area for formal entertaining centred on a spacious living and dining area, and a private zone that the architects describe as an “intimate sanctum”, comprising the family’s three bedrooms, a large kitchen, an informal dining area and a TV room. A wine cellar and separate guest suite round up the 376 square-metre property.
Removing the worn plaster ceiling revealed the building’s original concrete ceilings which the architects left exposed in some rooms. Board-formed concrete panels lining the walls of the living and dining area echo the exposed building fabric albeit in a more refined manner thanks to a finer striped pattern and the predominance of rounded corners. The latter soften the ascetic starkness of the concrete surfaces as do the sustainably-sourced hardwood floors and timber wall cladding, selection of natural fabrics, and the lush vegetation of the beautifully landscaped balconies that surround the living areas. Stone, marble and onyx complete the palette of natural materials with the latter used in bespoke applications including a minimal sideboard in the dining room and an illuminated wall panel with an integrated side table in the living room.
As mentioned before, the apartment stands out for its eclectic furniture collection which combines mid-century vintage finds with experimental designs by a curated mix of Brazilian and Scandinavian designers mixed with pieces custom-designed by the project’s architects. In the living room, Oscar Niemeyer’s Rio Chaise Longue, a sculptural design made from curved compressed laminated wood lacquered in black with Brazilian artisan wicker work, is complemented by more austere vintage furnishings like the pair of armchairs by Swedish designer Svante Skogh and a lounge chair by Danish designer Kurt Østervig as well as bold, contemporary pieces such as the two-sided Siri Bench by Brazilian designer Claudia Moreira Salles.
More mid-century Scandinavian touches can be found in the dining room where Danish designer Erik Buch’s elegant dining chairs are playfully paired with Dutch designer Bertjan Pot’s flying saucer-like Prop Light Round pendants for Moooi and a wall sculpture by the Brazilian-Polish artist Franz Krajcberg. In the kitchen, a cantilevered counter is complemented by high stools by Finnish designer Alvar Alto, while the master bedroom features a pair of upholstered armchairs in plywood that Brazilian artist, designer and architect Jose Zanine Caldas designed in the 1950s and a rare vintage floor lamp attributed to Swedish mid-century architect and designer Hans Bergström.