Modern Villa in Brazil
Interior Tuesday for all who love architecture. Today we look at a brilliantly designer space by Isay Weinfeld, a Brazilian designer. Arguably Brazil’s best-known architect after Oscar Niemeyer, Weinfeld has the luxury of turning away as many projects as he undertakes. He signs on only after listening to prospective clients describe how they wish to live. “What do you do when you wake up in the morning?” he’ll ask. “How do you spend your day?” He then sits quietly, head in hand, waiting for insights. These prefatory encounters can resemble therapy, or courtship. “It’s like a marriage,” he says. “We have to be a match. We may have to work together for years, and we must think in the same direction.”
Weinfeld felt a swift rapport with a young couple—he is Brazilian, she is French—when they met two years ago to discuss plans for a home in São Paulo’s Jardins, a district of fashionable shops and restaurants. The pair imagined an informal, light-filled dwelling in which they could live with their three energetic children and a collection of Brazilian art. “They wanted a contemporary house,” Weinfeld says, “but also a place with warmth where their family would feel comfortable. They are not the kind of people who need dining room doors so the table can be prepared while they entertain guests in the living room. Everything about them is open, and I tried to create a house in that spirit.” Thank you Architectural Digest!
In July the family invited Weinfeld to dinner. He joined nearly two dozen other guests seated both at a modern table overlooking the pool and at a 19th-century table in the kitchen. The rooms glowed with kiwi-green light from the garden. It was a moment when many architects would appraise their handiwork and exhale. But Weinfeld and his clients had known the design was a success for some time. “Long before the house was finished,” the wife says, “we could tell it had a soul.”