MW Apartment, Recife, PE, Brazil

The darker and bulkier, more tropical aspect of Brazilian mid-century modernism is currently under our radar. Compared to its Scandinavian, European or North American counterparts, Brazilian modernism seems somehow more grown-up and at once curvaceously feminine and decidedly masculine. Dark wood, strong shapes and folkloric artifacts. Of course, this is not all that Brazilian modernism is or was, but it is the part that stands out somehow to us right now.

We discovered clear signs of this in the reconfiguration of MW Apartment in Recife, Brazil, by Brazilian architect Arthur Casas. Collaborating in this project with team members Luisa Mader, Fernanda Costa, Leonardo Navarro and Susanna Brolhani in his São Paulo-based firm he established in 1999, Casas has evoked a sense of a modernist past that is a perfect backdrop for today’s living.

The 420-square-metre (4,520 sq.ft) apartment has the right pedigree for this kind of transformation. It is located in an iconic seaside building designed by the modernist Brazilian architect Acácio Gil Borsoi (1924-2009).

The views and the history of the building became the starting points for creating a home for a couple and their one daughter. The resulting rearrangement of the space now includes three bedrooms, an office, a kitchen with a breakfast area and a combined open-plan living, dining and terrace space.

The wood panelling, windows, shelves, benches and angular furniture pieces create an exquisite sense of vertical and horizontal lines. To break up these lines, the designers added curving and rounded furniture pieces and spectacular artwork.

Much of the furniture is either vintage or classics by renowned designers and include the rounded, velvet-upholstered fiberglass Esfera lounge chairs designed in the 1970s by the famous Brazilian modernist Ricardo Fasanello and the curving Ela sofa by Arthur Casas.

The lighting scheme was created by one of Brazil’s most respected theatre, concert and architectural lighting designers Maneco Quideré. Tuija Seipell

Images Fran Parente

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