The renovation of the 960-square-metre Frederic Chopin Apartment was led by architect Marina Cardoso de Almeida of Tria Arquitetura, who reconfigured the layout to make the most of the high ceilings and views.
The apartment is split over two floors and is home to an art-loving couple.
Previously the owners of a large house, the clients chose to move to an apartment for convenience and security, but still wanted their space to feel open and expansive.
The primary suite was moved to the upper floor, where the bed could be aligned with a floor-to-ceiling window that overlooks the cityscape.
An intimate library was also created on this level, so that the whole floor is dedicated entirely to private space, apart from the patio and pool terrace, where the clients entertain guests.
Two employees’ suites were shifted to the lower floor, and a guest suite and home theatre were added in place of the closet.
Connecting the two levels is a staircase with travertine treads and solid white bannisters, which snakes up a double-height space to appear like a piece of sculpture.
This sets the tone for the rest of the contemporary artworks and materials used throughout the penthouse.
“The main concept in the choice of finishes and architectural solutions was to bring comfort but still leave a big void so that the works could dress the house,” said Tria Arquitetura.
In the open living and dining area, colourful paintings adorn the walls, and furniture and rugs in shades of green and orange stand out against the otherwise neutral palette.
“In the living room there were three large main volumes that should be highlighted to bring texture and more cosiness,” Tria Arquitetura said.
These include the elevator block, the fireplace and the wall dividing the main room from the guest area, which are covered in thin vertical slats of veneered natural wood.
Another column is wrapped in stainless steel to offer a cool, sharp-edged contrast to the wood and other warm tones in the living room.
Upstairs in the library, wide-planked wood flooring is continued up the walls to make the room feel cosy, and provide a backdrop for a series of framed vintage maps.
“It was only in the library that the architect chose to cover all the walls with the same wood as the floor to give more seriousness and highlight the environment from the others,” the studio said.
Updates were also made to the outdoor area, where the pool was reduced in size and re-edged to better integrate it with the landscaping.
A pair of imitation classical pillars were also demolished, and a wood and glass pergola was added to cover the patio.
Throughout the apartment, fully automated systems controlling the air conditioning, lighting, landscaping irrigation, and curtains and blinds were added during the renovation.
The project took over two years to complete due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apartment living is commonplace in densely populated São Paulo, where architects and designers have used their creativity to add character to previously uninspiring spaces.
Other recently completed examples include a residence by Studio MK27 that features furry upholstery, lace curtains and tactile rugs, and a renovation by Memola Estudio that exposed the building’s concrete structure.
The photography is by Fran Parente.
Lead architect: Marina Cardoso de Almeida
Creative team: Marina Cardoso de Almeida, Sarah Bonanno, Barbara Castro, Barbara Silva, Virginia Caldas
Engineering: Steel Construções
Landscaping: Alex Hanazaki
Light technician: Carlos Fortes
Air conditioning: Dealtec