Bernardes Architecture Brings Buttoned-Down Design to Ipanema Office Building
With all the scantily clad, tan young lovelies parading through Rio de Janeiro’s beachside Ipanema neighborhood, an effort to temper curious gazes and blazing rays might come as a something of a surprise. But that’s precisely what a real-estate developer envisioned to make a small office building in this showy enclave a refuge to nurture creative businesses—in this case a culture magazine and a film production house in addition to a more buttoned-down real-estate management company. So Bernardes Architecture gave its three-story, 3,350-square-foot design an exquisitely understated screen in front of the facade proper.
“Its silent presence reflects the clients’ desire for a discreet, neutral face,” Thiago Bernardes explains of the 35-foot-high, 40-foot-wide screen. After multiple metalwork experiments, he succeeded in lightening its strips of powder-coated aluminum, thanks to a grid of tiny holes. The resulting diagonal egg-crate pattern, as seen from the sidewalk, updates two signatures of Brazilian modernism: One is muxarabi, a Moorish-inflected latticework, and the other is cobogó, a type of breeze-block.