The young Brazilian architect Guilherme Torres chose to live in a small studio in Londrina, Brazil. The place would lodge an artist’s painting atelier and was under redecoration for over 10 years by the architect himself. The present project came to life due to several problems found in the building such as electricity mains and rewiring, wall cracks and seepage.
Within a month, all wall coatings were removed and rebuilt whilst the architect decided to build a brick table and couch. “As a furniture designer, I decided to follow an opposite thread to what I usually do and create something permanent, stable”, says the architect. Not only is the table used to hold books and collections but it is also a place to work and eat at, while the couch stands from wall to wall and has two black fabric mattresses. The cushions were made with fabric cutouts with patterns designed by the stylist Adriana Barra to Micasa, São Paulo’s design temple. The kitchen was compressed in a 1.40m wide by 3m long space. The concrete floor was coated with rubber so as to avoid oil stains while the wall received plotage images inspired in Arabic mosaic, designed by the architect himself.
The resident’s bedroom bears resemblance to a loft, with a warmer atmosphere compared to the rest of the house due to the exposed brick wall at the top of the bed. The electrical wiring system becomes more evident in the guest’s bedroom, located in a mezzanine floor above the living-room. The design was inspired by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, a Brazilian architect who won the Pritzker prize in 2006 and famous for exploring the Brutalist Architecture, in which the architecture functional mechanisms such as hydraulic and electrical pipes are at sight. Modern and avant-garde, the whole building cost approximately U$ 6,000.00 and the low cost is due to its simplicity in architectural solutions.
What was the brief/concept for the interior design of the apartment?
The renovation was done due to the necessity, the walls presented infiltration and the electrical installation was obsolete. When all the grout was reoved and the new covering applied, I decided that everything would remain without finishing, in the natural tone of concrete.
How did you address this brief – in terms of an overall theme, colour and material palette, etc?
As it was my own house, I didn’t want it to look like the usual work I develop to my clients. I wanted it to be more experimental project and I’ve always liked the industrial and raw aspects. That’s the reason why I decided to cover everything with concrete. As a collector of many things, the vintage robots for an example, the colors came with the decoration.
“As a furniture designer, I decided to follow an opposite thread to what I usually do and create something permanent, stable.” What inspired you to create the brick table and couch?
In Brazil, on the 70’s, it was very common to build furniture in concrete. That made part of my emotional memory and I decided to rescue this reference. Another reason for it was because it’s very fast and cheap, I had a very low budget for this renovation.
The interiors are a fine balance of raw materials (brick and concrete) with extremely luxurious/chic furniture and accessories. What is the trick to achieving this perfect composition?
The trick is justly the contrast of materials, the “hi/low”. For example, the concrete could be associated to something cold, so the sheep fur carpet gives the warm tone. The furniture is part of my history, appreciated pieces that I gathered along the years.
Were there in challenges along the way – building regulations, architectural roadblocks, etc? How did you overcome this?
For this house there was no project. Everyday I used to make decisions with the workers (masons and electricians) and in the end of the day I would evaluate the results. It was an intuitive process.
Are all the artworks on display done by the architect himself?
All the picture frames are books and magazine reproductions. I photographed all works that I liked the most and sent to enlarge.
Architects: Studio Guilherme Torres
Location: Londrina, Brazil
Floor Area: 73 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Roberto Wagner