Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Vitra: São Paulo's skyline gains a new icon


Edificio Vitra São Paulo

Yes, it’s another skyscraping condominium in São Paulo. Yes it’s in Itaim the supposedly entertaining but boringly predictable mid to upper class neighbourhood favoured by expats in São Paulo. Yes, it will contribute to the verticalisation of São Paulo’s neighbourhoods. And yes, 99,9% of São Paulo’s inhabitants will never step foot inside.

But it’s beautiful.

Vitra, the apartment block which poses as a colossal glass sculpture will provide a landmark building to be proud of, something São Paulo actually has very few. Granted there are many tall buildings, too many one could argue,  but most look identical to the one next to it which in turn looks identical to the one next to it and the one beyond that. The sort of “wow” building that you expect to see (and do see) when you travel to Seoul or Tokyo or Shanghai or New York is strangely missing in the similarly sized São Paulo. Growth has come first, design a poor second.

So take a second look at the the plans Daniel Libeskind has for Horácio Lafer Avenue. The architect better known for his Imperial War Museum in Manchester, The projected L Tower in Toronto or the Haeundae Park Marina in Busan, Korea is launching his first ever project in South America. And right here in São Paulo.

Edificio Vitra São Paulo
Artist's impression of Vitra at night

Vitra has only one apartment per floor, each with a customized floor plan, plus an additional two floor penthouse which one of São Paulo’s many millionaires has no doubt already snapped up. The very smallest apartment will be 565 square meters, beyond most of our means, but then the project was never designed to be modest.

According to Libeskind “it represents the unfolding dynamism of a unique place and an energetic population full of optimism and potential, gesturing openly to a wide panorama of São Paulo it represents the unfolding dynamism of a unique place and an energetic population full of optimism and potential, gesturing openly to a wide panorama of São Paulo”. 

Whether you agree or not and whether you like it or not, Libeskind present to São Paulo’s skyline is already well underway and will be unveiled in 2013.

4 comments:

Alex said...

I love this building.

Lately, looking at the latest ''lançamentos'', it seems like architecture is starting to become more important in many buildings. I think it's a shift in Brazilian culture, which was built for utility before but because of Brazil's new found wealth, design is playing a more and more important role.

Abraço

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