The owner of this small pied-à-terre works in the art world and lives in São Paulo, but she travels frequently to Rio de Janeiro and was quickly won over by an apartment located just a few steps from Ipanema’s beach.
Even though the home was right next to the equally famous Copacabana beach, the owner dreamt of Greece, and specifically the islands of the Aegean. With a home that evokes Santorini as her goal, she contacted the architects Mariana Teixeira and Pedro Pantoja, of Bric Arquitetura, to have them to undertake a total renovation project. “The owner wanted a completely new interior—one that referred to the Greek islands,” say the architects. “Beyond that direction, she gave us carte blanche to make her wish come true.”
The architects’ first move was to remove a wall that had divided the apartment in two and restore it to its original open studio plan. The kitchen, living room, and sleeping area are visually differentiated but by keeping them all open, the apartment feels more spacious, with more fluid circulation and a logical distribution of the different areas. In order to stay within a tight budget, the architects used white concrete to create wide and open built-in installations instead of purchasing cabinets. A partial-height room divider with shelves separates the kitchen and the sleeping area, with storage on the bedroom side. “The kitchen was designed to contain the cooking, washing, and air conditioning functions in a small space. The bedroom partition contains large storage compartments that can be closed, if the owner wishes,” explain the architects.
A shelf made with existing parquet flooring in the apartment (common in many older Rio de Janeiro homes) runs along one wall, from the entryway to a sofa. Measuring almost 20 feet, the shelf serves to unify the different spaces of the home like a common thread, and feels like the backbone of the apartment, as it functions as a table, desk, and console. Another unifying element, which evokes the Greek islands beloved by the owner, is provided by the floors, walls, and installations, all made of white masonry. Their textures differ depending on their intended use—some surfaces are porous and non-slip, while others are polished and smooth for easier maintenance.