A Modern, São Paulo Apartment That Brings the Outdoors Inside

05.09.23 | By
A Modern, São Paulo Apartment That Brings the Outdoors Inside

Located in a 1962 building in São Paulo, the Terrace Apartment is designed for modern times by Estudio Guto Requena. The Brazilian firm redesigned the apartment into one filled with flexible and reconfigurable spaces that adapt for different uses. To meet the owner’s request of having a balcony in a building without them, they transformed the whole apartment to feel like an indoor/outdoor space with plants throughout, even hanging from the ceiling.

section of modern living room with lime green sofa and plants hanging from ceiling looking into kitchen

Along with the physical transformation, the designers incorporated new digital technologies, like a house management system that can be controlled via smartphone, smart keypads, or voice commands. Everything from access to the apartment, lighting, irrigation, audio/video, curtains, etc. is automated for convenience.

long view of modern kitchen with windows at the end

The kitchen is access through large pivoting doors that can either open the two spaces up or keep them separate.

partial view of modern kitchen with built-in planter

Each room incorporates biophilic design with an array of plants in each space. In addition to plants cascading down from the hanging pot rack and in the windows in the kitchen, a tiled plant bed with herbs resides in the corner.

partial view of modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances

view of modern living room with lime green sofa and plants around with window in background

A two-sided sofa creates two sitting areas in the main living room. Along the window side of the space is a variety of potted and hanging plants, while on the other side, a suspended plant box houses greenery that spreads across the ceiling over the living space. The amount and variety of plants creates a specific microclimate which helps reduce high temperatures and improves air quality.

long view of modern living room with eclectic furnishings and plants hanging everywhere

In the living room, a projector and 120″ screen doubles as a workspace meeting room with integrated camera and microphone for work calls. When used for pleasure, the wall acts as a digital gallery displaying NFTs the residents own. On party days, some of the furniture moves to create a dance floor with reactive audio lighting attached to the planter boxes.

view of modern living room with eclectic furnishings and plants hanging everywhere

The furnishings are an eclectic mix from iconic designers, such as Maarten Baas, Antonio Citterio, Yrjo Kukkapuro, Le Corbusier, Jasper Morrison, and Frank Gehry, along with noted Brazilian designers, including Sérgio Rodrigues, Jean Gillon, Irmãos Campana, Zanine Caldas, and Lina Bo Bardi, and finally up-and-coming Brazilian designers, like Guilherme Wentz, Ronald Sasson, Daniel Jorge, Lucas Neves, Carol Gay, Jacqueline Terpins, Ovo Design, PAX Arq, and Alva Design. To top things off, the architects, Estudio Guto Requena, created a number of pieces used in the design.

view of modern living room with eclectic furnishings and plants hanging everywhere

A flexible floor plan allows for the living room, dining room, office, and bedroom spaces, which are all aligned, to be all open to each other, all closed off, or a mix as desired for the day’s activities. Acoustic glass sliding doors and automated curtains section off the spaces when needing more privacy.

wood paneled dark hallway with view of entry door and lit book shelf on side

To complement the wooden panels on the exterior for the building, the firm acquired original drawings from the Botti and Rubin office, the original designers of the building. They scanned them and with the help of algorithms, they were able to recreate the graphic pattern on wood surfaces on the interior. The patterned wood surfaces mark transitions where spaces go from the public areas to the more private ones.

wood paneled door open to small bathroom

closeup of modern bookshelf partial dark wood on one side and white on left

angled interior view with rotating table and red chairs with bedroom behind

A flex space in between the dining room and bedroom acts as a home office and seating area. An elongated table and lamp, which pivot, are made from the old wood floors removed from the apartment. The setup allows for better views out the window or for DJs that play at their parties.

modern bedroom with plants hanging with windows behind

The main bedroom can be closed off for privacy or watching movies on the projector.

modern bedroom with plants hanging with windows behind partial door with projection screen

moving image of modern bedroom with pivoting wood doors

More pivoting, patterned wood doors open the main bedroom up to the closet and bathroom.

view of long modern closet with dark wood doors with view into bathroom

view of modern bathroom with vanities on either side and shower and tub behind sliding glass doors in front of window

modern bathroom with vanity and mirror

evening view of modern living space with plants hanging from ceiling

angled view from bedroom into modern home office with 2 red chairs

angled view of opened flexible space looking from bedroom into home office and then living room

view of window side of modern apartment with home office and lots of plants

view in modern apartment with wood furnishings and lots of plants

angled view of modern bedroom with mosaic tile wall

view of modern bedroom with mosaic tile wall

angled view of modern bathroom with suspended mirror with plants behind it

angled exterior view of modern apartment building with carved wood doors

Photography by Maíra Acayaba.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.