On a site measuring just over 3750 square feet (350 m2) surrounded by greenery and small houses in the Jardim Paulista district of São Paulo, one of the biggest cities in the world, stands Bento House, a residence designed by FCstudio for a couple and their two daughters. The home is an intertwining of simplicity and complexity. The entrance, for example, is understated if not anonymous, mainly hidden, like the rest of the house, from the street. What is visible looks like an essential façade. Once you’ve stepped through the front gate, however, you encounter something much more complex: a veritable oasis in which the house and garden form a single element.
The residence has two aboveground levels and a basement, with the upper two floors both designed so that occupants can experience the inside as if they were outside. A boundary between the two does exist at ground level, but it’s as good as invisible, with the large windows on the shorter side of the house opening completely to transform the spacious living room into a space made up of both indoors and outdoors. The master bedroom upstairs can be completely closed off with metal shutter panels, but behind them are full-height windows that can also be completely opened. The panels give the façade a certain rhythm and sense of movement. Then, when they’re fully closed, the upper level looks like a rather severe metal container, supported by the perimeter walls in exposed concrete, overhanging the lower level with its massive presence.
The styling of the interiors reflects typical Brazilian tastes, constructed using straightforward materials. Wood, steel, and concrete are given little in the way of ornamentation or finishes, therefore letting them age and give the house a rustic flavor that will reflect its history.
Despite the combinations of different materials, the interiors remain coherent because of their harmonious dialogue with the garden. The kitchen, for example, which dominates the living area at ground level, is completely finished in wood and resembles a single piece of furniture. This forms a counterpoint to the exposed concrete of the outside walls, which in turn lead to large glazed walls that make the division between house and garden disappear.
The choice of furniture was fundamental to the character of the project, with the interiors featuring a mix of European and Brazilian products, some of which were designed by FCstudio itself, including the Brasilia coffee table, the Ensemble dining table, the Box side table, and the Move bench.
Upstairs, which is accessed via a metal staircase behind the kitchen wall, the furnishings are essential and custom-built to maximize functionality. The architecture is left to speak for itself through the views of the garden, the large window openings, and the thoughtful combinations of materials.
Location: Jardim Paulista, San Paolo, Brazil
Built area: 424m²
Construction company: Lock Engenharia
Vertical garden: Sergio Medeiros Paisagismo
Electrical and hydraulic project: Engeplot
Structures: Praxis Engenharia
Photography by André Mortatti, courtesy of FCstudio