A modern apartment in Sao Paulo brings the outdoors indoors

Housed in a 1962 building in São Paulo, the Terrace apartment Designed for the modern era by Goto Requina Studio. The Brazilian company has redesigned the apartment into one full of flexible and reconfigurable spaces that adapt to different uses. To satisfy the owner’s request for a balcony in a building without them, they transformed the entire apartment to feel more like an indoor/outdoor space with plants throughout, even hanging from the ceiling.

A section of the modern living room with a green sofa and plants hanging from the ceiling overlooks the kitchen

Besides the physical transformation, the designers incorporated new digital technologies, such as a home management system that can be controlled via a smartphone, smart keypads, or voice commands. Everything from access to the apartment, lighting, irrigation, audio/video, blinds, etc. is automated for convenience.

Long view of the modern kitchen with windows at the end

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

Partial view of modern kitchen with built-in planter

Each room has a biophilic design with an array of plants in each space. In addition to the plants hanging from the hanging pot rack and in the kitchen windows, in the corner is a brick plant bed with herbs.

Partial view of modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances

A view of a modern living room with a green sofa and plants around it with a window in the background

The reversible sofa provides two seating areas in the main living room. Along the window side of the space are a variety of potted and hanging plants, while on the other side, a hanging plant box featuring greenery spreads across the ceiling above the living space. The amount and variety of vegetation creates a specific microclimate that helps reduce high temperatures and improve air quality.

Long view of a modern living room with eclectic furnishings and hanging plants all around

In the living room, a 120-degree projector and screen doubles as a workspace meeting room with a built-in camera and microphone for business calls. When used for fun, the wall acts as a digital gallery displaying NFTs owned by residents. On party days, some of the furniture moves around to create a dance floor with interactive acoustic lighting attached to planter boxes.

A view of a modern living room with eclectic furnishings and hanging plants all around

The furnishings are an eclectic mix of high-profile designers, such as Martin Bass, Antonio Citterio, Yrigo Kocaburo, Le Corbusier, Jasper Morrison, and Frank Gehry, along with well-known Brazilian designers, including Sergio Rodriguez, Jean Gillon, Irmaos Campana, Zanin Caldas, and Lina. Bo Bardi, and finally up-and-coming Brazilian designers such as Guilherme Wentz, Ronald Sasson, Daniel Jorge, Lucas Neves, Carol Gay, Jacqueline Terpins, Ovo Design, PAX Arq, and Alva Design. Above all, architect Estudio Guto Requena created a number of pieces used in the design.

A view of a modern living room with eclectic furnishings and hanging plants all around

The flexible floor plan allows the living room, dining room, office and bedroom spaces, all aligned, to be all open to each other, fully enclosed, or a combination as desired for the day’s activities. Soundproof glass sliding doors and motorized blinds outside the spaces when extra privacy is required.

Dark wood paneled lounge with view of the entry door and lit bookshelf to the side

To complement the wood paneling on the building’s exterior, the firm obtained original drawings from the office of Butte and Robyn, the building’s original designers. They scanned it and with the help of algorithms, were able to recreate the graphic pattern on the wooden surfaces in the interior. Textured wood surfaces define transitions as spaces move from the public to the more private.

Wood paneled door opening to a small bathroom

Close-up of a modern bookshelf with partial dark wood on one side and white on the left

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

A flexible space between the dining room and bedroom serves as a home office and seating area. A long table and lamp swivel from the old wood floors removed from the apartment. The setup allows for better viewing from the window or for DJs playing at their parties.

Modern bedroom with hanging plants with windows behind

The master bedroom can be closed off for privacy or watching movies on a projector.

Modern bedroom with hanging plants by windows behind a partial door with a projection screen

Animation of modern bedroom with wooden pivot doors

More ornate wood pivot doors open the master bedroom through to the closet and bathroom.

View of a tall, modern cabinet with dark wood doors with a view inside the bathroom

Modern bathroom view with vanities on either side and shower and bathtub behind sliding glass doors in front of the window

Modern bathroom with vanity and mirror

Evening view of a modern living space with plants hanging from the ceiling

Angled view from the bedroom of a modern home office with two red chairs

An angled view of a flexible, open space looking from the bedroom to the home office and then the living room

View by the window of a modern apartment with a home office and lots of plants

View in a modern apartment with wooden furnishings and lots of plants

Angled view of a modern bedroom with a wall of mosaic tiles

View of a modern bedroom with a wall of mosaic tiles

Corner view of a modern bathroom with a hanging mirror with plants behind it

Angled exterior view of a modern apartment building with carved wood doors

Photo by Mayra Akyaba.

Carolyn Williamson is the Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in Photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage goods, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or paraphrasing Spotify playlists.

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