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A Minimalist Tropical Apartment for an Art Collector in São Paulo, Brazil

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A Minimalist Tropical Apartment for an Art Collector in São Paulo, Brazil

June 19, 2020

When Brazilian architect and designer Felipe Hess renovated a 4,800-square-foot apartment for a young art collector, he let the client’s antique Brazilian furniture and artwork dictate the space. The apartment, located on Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, Brazil, was originally sectioned off into a series of small rooms. Hess converted it into just two rooms: a living area encompassing a kitchen and dining room and a 1,100-square-foot bedroom. “The idea was to make the architecture disappear by creating a neat and clean backdrop to house the vast art collection, which is in constant transformation,” says Hess. Here’s a look at the renovation.

Photography by Ruy Teixeira, courtesy of Felipe Hess.

Hess used groupings of the client’s furniture to create multiple seating areas and dining rooms. Here, a collection of silver wine goblets on a glass coffee table is surrounded by vintage chairs, including a Jean Gillon Jaganda Chair from Brazil at left.
Above: Hess used groupings of the client’s furniture to create multiple seating areas and dining rooms. Here, a collection of silver wine goblets on a glass coffee table is surrounded by vintage chairs, including a Jean Gillon Jaganda Chair from Brazil at left.
A wide view of the open living room space. Note how Hess grouped a collection of sculptural chairs around a coffee table and used an area rug to anchor the seating area.
Above: A wide view of the open living room space. Note how Hess grouped a collection of sculptural chairs around a coffee table and used an area rug to anchor the seating area.
An antique woven rattan-backed bench faces a grouping of chairs. On the far left is a pine chair designed by architect Lina Bo Bardi in the 50s and on the far right is a midcentury slatted X-base folding chair.
Above: An antique woven rattan-backed bench faces a grouping of chairs. On the far left is a pine chair designed by architect Lina Bo Bardi in the 1950s and on the far right is a midcentury slatted X-base folding chair.
“A monolithic floor runs throughout the apartment, reinforcing the continuity of the spaces. Loose blocks of granite help to overcome the existing gaps,” Hess explains.
Above: “A monolithic floor runs throughout the apartment, reinforcing the continuity of the spaces. Loose blocks of granite help to overcome the existing gaps,” Hess explains.
“The white walls were redesigned to avoid corners, thus creating great exhibition planes,” says Hess.
Above: “The white walls were redesigned to avoid corners, thus creating great exhibition planes,” says Hess.
An antique chair at the entrance to an otherwise modern guest bathroom.
Above: An antique chair at the entrance to an otherwise modern guest bathroom.
The main space is divided into levels—two steps lead up to the dining room and kitchen, and two steps lead down to the living space.
Above: The main space is divided into levels—two steps lead up to the dining room and kitchen, and two steps lead down to the living space.
A view from the elevated dining room into the kitchen on the same level.
Above: A view from the elevated dining room into the kitchen on the same level.
A modern kitchen with a concrete waterfall kitchen island and minimalist white cabinets.
Above: A modern kitchen with a concrete waterfall kitchen island and minimalist white cabinets.
The single bedroom measures data-src=
Above: The single bedroom measures 1,100 square feet. To break up the space, the designers created discrete seating areas.
Hess created a single long floating shelf above the bed, using the same concrete as on the kitchen countertops. It’s a place where small objects, sculpture, and framed art is displayed.
Above: Hess created a single long floating shelf above the bed, using the same concrete as on the kitchen countertops. It’s a place where small objects, sculpture, and framed art is displayed.
An area of the bedroom, grand piano included.
Above: An area of the bedroom, grand piano included.
A floating concrete counter with a circular, wood-framed mirror in the bathroom off the primary bedroom.
Above: A floating concrete counter with a circular, wood-framed mirror in the bathroom off the primary bedroom.
The overall composition.
Above: The overall composition.

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