Entertainment, function and flow were the guiding principles of a loft renovation in the Moema area of Sao Paolo, Brazil. The result is a refined, yet casual and cozy residence that is made for friends and family aplenty. In fact, the designers at Mandarina Arquitetura were inspired by an Oscar Niemeyer quote: “If a straight line is the shortest path between two points, the curve is what makes the concrete find infinity.” Indeed, the dynamic curve of this interior element gives life to the rest of the apartment, designed with entertaining in mind.
The curve in this design is the dominant feature of the main living area of the 110-square-meter apartment. It makes up the central section of the open space, beginning by the stairs and extending into the living room and unifying the various parts. More than just a design feature, it is a functional element that encompasses a bathroom, as well as a workspace that hides office necessities and electronics in a cabinet cubby. The main desk space is itself a design element of the curved unit. A very innovative feature is the way the architects have made it possible to hide the television, which many people consider to be an eyesore when not in use. Here, it is mounted on a rail inside a cabinet at the end of the curved wall unit. When it’s time to watch, slide it out and then stash it away again when finished.
Next to the curved wall is the staircase to the bedroom floor. Originally, it was an old spiral staircase with a marble finish and no handrail. To update the stair and make it safe, the architects crafted railing from MDF board and extended it up and around the staircase opening. Now it is a true architectural feature and sculptural element that sports a texturized cement finish.
On the other side of the wall is a more than ample kitchen, perfect for the couple that lives here because they love to cook. The wooden unit is flat on the kitchen side so that it can accommodate essential built-in appliances. Above the sink, some open shelving allows for handy storage and some pops of color in the neutral palette from the cookware and dishes. In addition to the full-size refrigerator in the work area of the kitchen, the dining space includes several under-counter beverage coolers to make entertaining more convenient. Large-scale floor tiles are used throughout the main floor, except for in the kitchen work area, where a smaller, gray tile was installed.
Of course, every renovation holds some surprises — both good and bad — and in this case, the removal of an old gypsum ceiling uncovered a marvelous concrete slab. The designers were able to restore it and make the ceiling higher, adding an airier feeling. Pipes and wiring were left exposed, amplifying the loft feeling and contemporary nature of the space. Another element that the demolition uncovered was that the ceiling beams were actually at three different heights throughout the loft. The issue was solved by artfully solved by cladding them in corten steel panels, which allows them to be at uniform heights and to hide air conditioning ductwork and the wiring for the television.
Just off the kitchen is a terrace that can be fully opened up thanks to sliding glass walls. The space — whether combined with the interior or used separately — has everything a party needs. The outdoor cooking area features a gourmet countertop, a grill, and cabinets fronted with doors in perforated steel panels. Just inside the door are the beverage coolers and the rest of the terrace area has a dining table and chairs as well as a sofa for outdoor lounging.
Small details make the space special, from the string lights that help define the terrace space and add a fun glow to nighttime entertaining. The wooden floor also sets the space apart and gives it a bit of a natural feeling even though it’s in an urban location. Having the terrace attached and separated by glass doors also dramatically increases the amount of natural light that enters the inner reaches of the apartment.