|Project Name||VA apartment||Posted in||Interior Design||Location||
Higienópolis - SPBrazil
|Architecture Practice||Pascali Semerdjian Arquitetos||Project Team||Pascali Semerdjian Arquitetos|
Renovating an apartment in a mid-century building selected as one of the ten best residential buildings ever featured in Wallpaper* magazine and which has been listed as landmark of Historical Heritage is a tall order but São Paulo based Pascali Semerdjian Arquitetos have risen to the occasion with a sophisticated design that both evokes the idiosyncratic character of the original building and instils a sense of contemporary elegance.
Built in the late 1950s in the upscale neighbourhood of Higienópolis in São Paulo, Brazil, the Bretagne Building was one of the first residential buildings in the city to incorporate communal leisure areas such as a swimming pool, a ballroom and a rooftop garden. Inspired by 1950’s Hollywood-style glamour, the modernist architecture of the monumental 18-storey building brings to mind Le Corbusier’s grand housing projects while the playful décor of the public spaces, featuring bright colors, decorative latticework, locally called cobogó, and mosaic tiling of different sizes and shapes, is reminiscent of Gaudi.
For the apartment’s renovation, the architects have retained the building’s modernist aesthetic but have approached its exuberant ornamentation with a reductive scope, avoiding replicating its extent and intensity but using it instead as inspiration for specific pieces of the décor.
The “backbone” of the apartment is a dimly lit corridor, designed as a tunnel of COR-TEN steel that connects the communal and private areas. Upon stepping into the living room, a large and airy space that contains both a lounge and dining area, you’re struck by the views and the abundant daylight that the floor-to-ceiling window glazing provides, made all the more refreshing as you exit the darker hallway. Running the entire length of the room, a minimally designed bookcase, made out of the same weathered steel as the corridor, incorporates not just the owners’ collection of books, photos and artwork but also a bar and the room's two doors.
Designed by the architects, the custom made sideboard in the dining area and cabinet below the TV on the opposite side of the room allude to the building’s original design, the former featuring a pink marble surface and a gold-ring lattice and the latter a polished wood exterior and a metallic mesh front. The rest of the furniture oscillates between mid-century modernism, with pieces such as Niels Otto Moller’s side chairs, an Eero Saarinen armchair, and vintage Swedish wall lamps from the 50s, and more contemporary yet as eclectic pieces such as two padded armchairs by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola and a quilted coffee table by Danish studio GamFratesi.
The apartment also includes a master bedroom, where a raised upholstered leather headboard is used to display works of art and other objects, and two children bedrooms connected through a playroom, rounding up a renovation that is thoughtfully designed and meticulously execute.