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The Campana Brothers, designers Humberto and Fernando Campana, unveiled their first private architectural commission in the Jardim Paulista neighborhood of their native Sao Paulo this summer.
The house is located near the famed Fasano Hotel and was commissioned by Italian Argentinian couple Stefano Zunino and Solange Ricoy who had befriended the design duo 15 years ago when they moved to the Brazilian metropolis. In 2006, the brothers had renovated the lobby and conference rooms of J. Walter Thompson Americas (ran by Zunino). The following year, the Campanas landscaped the adjacent gardens, which were re-imagined with indigenous Brazilian flora and fauna.
Naturally, when the Zuninos were ready to build their family home, the Campanas were an obvious choice. Their brief to the designers was to blur the lines between outside and inside “so they could live outside as if they were inside, to enjoy the weather, the plants, the open space and live inside as if they were outside with lots of light and as if the outside could come inside the house,”said Solange Ricoy in a statement.
Five years from commission to completion, the house embodies the evolution of the designers’ work during this period as they experimented with fresh techniques and fabrications. The result is surprising in its ability to find modern use in traditional techniques, epitomizing the Brazilian pair’s commitment to employing native materials and rescuing disappearing handcrafted methods.
The four-story, 663 square-meter rectangular structure floats like an island in a pool of grass, and was inspired by Indigenous ocas homes. These aboriginal home façade are wrapped with piassava, a natural palm fiber from the northeast region of Brazil that serves as a tropical-heat shield.
Inside, site-specific signature pieces imagined by the Campanas include a mammoth wooden bookcase, tiled in leather, that spirals up from the ground floor to the top of the home. Outside, the garden showcases native cylindrical snake plants alongside erythrina coral trees interspersed with intricate benches woven from iron wire.