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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ten years ago, a nightclub was founded in the heart of Rua Augusta, São Paulo’s red light district; from then on, dozens of different nightclubs, bars and parties followed; an unplanned cultural reoccupation of the central neighborhoods was on its way.

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Vegas Club at Rua Augusta. By Lalo de Almeida

Parties, happenings, cultural events and performances are taking place in long-forsaken spots of derelict downtown São Paulo, like Minhocão.

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“Agora Vai”, carnival on Minhocão. By Mariana Desiderio

The above-ground expressway which cuts through the heart of the city hasn’t been a favorite for some time; it was hated from the moment it was built in 1971, five meters away from neighboring windows. The well-to-do area became overnight a spot for the lowest depths of São Paulo society.

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Avenida São João before Minhocão
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Present days Avenida São João. By Paulo Liebert

Being the city’s most evident symbol of urban neglect, Minhocão was recently turned into the city’s icon for well-humored protest. It started somewhere between the foundation of “Agora Vai” street carnival, Felipe Morozini’s landmark flowers intervention in 2009 and 2010 documentary film “Elevado 3.5” and its onsite premiere.

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“Agora Vai”; carnival on Minhocão. Via “Aqui há sabiá” blog

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Flowers, by Felipe Morozini
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Premiere of “Elevado 3.5”. Via http://www.elevadotrespontocinco.com.br

Minhocão recently hosted a late-night gourmet food market in the context of Virada Cultural (the city’s major annual cultural event); it was also the pièce de resistance of a cultural festival focused on downtown awareness (Baixo Centro); parties, picnics, grass carpets, mappings, swimming pools. What else will we imagine for São Paulo’s ugly duckling?

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Voodoohop party, during “Baixo Centro” festival. By Pita Uchoa
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Food market during Virada Cultural

Raul Juste Lores, journalist for Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, recently dedicated an article to the subject. “In a society which counts on its governments for almost everything, the kids who take over Minhocão on Sundays are making public policies with their own feet”.

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“Minhocão needs to be adapted so that we don’t fetishize it (no, it is not a real “park”, nor the São Paulo version of New York’s high line)” says Lores.

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Picnic. By Tiago Queiroz for http://www.estadao.com.br
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Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte. By Jacques Seurat

Is it so? Need we look up to similar urban renewal projects, like the Cheonggyecheon in Seoul or the Central Artery in Boston? Or should we keep up the good work of our party kids? Couldn’t regeneration be in the hands of this new São-Paulo loving, fun-loving generation? It sure seems the most amusing path.

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Picnic. By Tiago Queiroz for http://www.estadao.com.br
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Watch the last episodes of Guto Requena’s series on the Milan Design Week for Brazilian television channel GNT.

Stay tuned for some new cool videos in the near future ; )

The fourth episode features great designers Tom Dixon (Tunisia) and Jum Nakao (Brazil).

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Brazilian designer Jum Nakao

Part of the episode is dedicated to to contemporary lighting design.

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Philippe Starck’s “Zenith Chandelier” for Baccarat.

The fifth and last episode features some of our favorite personalities Guto met during Salone week:

Milanese design icon Rossana Orlandi;

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Dutch designer Maarten Baas, and;

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Fellow Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.

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Jane Jacobs, Greenwich Village, New York City, 1961

Jane Jacobs once wrote, in her landmark 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, that:

“…city areas with flourishing diversity sprout strange and unpredictable uses and peculiar scenes. But this is not a drawback of diversity. This is the point … of it.”

Jacob’s outlook on misex-use spaces fundamentally changed urban design and public policies regarding cultural and social equipment.

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Skaters in Beijing, China

Anyone living in what can be considered a thriving city is fully aware that what makes it thriving is its openness, its atractiveness to new and varied activities and interactions.

Safety, entertainment and liveliness are natural consequences of the colorful and diverse melting pots our neighborhoods and cities constitute.

Madonna, by David Lachapelle, 1998

Having that said, it is truly appalling that São Paulo – most specifically the Lapa Subprefecture – almost dismantled one of the city’s most important venues for the skateboarding culture, the historical Praça Joanópolis.

This tree-lined steep lane in Sumaré neighborhood is rightfully appointed as one of the birthplaces of the downhill slide modality in skateboarding, as well as the first gathering point of the community in the country. It is quite charmingly featured in a Brazilian publicity for Pepsi from the 70’s.

Praça Joanópolis, São Paulo

The subprefecture – never will we know whether motivated by influence traffic, conservative moods or no reason whatsoever – decided to modify the street’s pavement from asphalt to cobblestone, thus disabling the practice of the sport.

Luckilly enough, a last-minute meeting was called upon by the skating community. The administration decided to cease works for 60 days, period during which it will analyze whether skateboarding poses no threats nor disturbances to the area’s general tranquility – it seems that a disappearance of the stone breakers probably had something to do with the interruption as well.

For lusophones, learn more here and here.

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Blog del Diseño, a Spanish blog specialized in design, has just featured one of our dearest residential projects, the Harmonia Apartment. The project is by WHYDESIGN, a collective formed by Guto Requena, Maurício Arruda and Tatiana Sakurai, fellow architects and USP alumni.

The apartment, located in artsy and bohemian Vila Madalena neighborhood of São Paulo, reflects the owners’ (a young urban couple from Brasília) personal taste for design and joyful lifestyle.

Check it out!

The entrance tunnel, crammed with album covers and objects

“Roteiro Musical de São Paulo” was a highly interesting and popular exhibition sponsored by SESC Santana and organized by Assis Ângelo and Andrea Lago (Instituto Memória Brasil) which took place as part of the celebration of São Paulo’s Birthday in 2012.

Estudio Guto Requena had the honor of developing the scenography and art direction for the exhibition, along with our buddies from Atelier Marko Brajovic.

The Cabaret Arena, space for lectures and discussions

The exhibition closed its doors to the public in early April. Fortunately, the São Paulo “late birds” have one last chance to check out the marvelous exhibition and our scenography – which is quite nice too ; )

The exhibition will reopen during the annual event Virada Cultural a huge multicultural event which takes place during 24 hours around São Paulo, from this Saturday until this Sunday ( May 5th and 6th, 2012).

Check out more on Roteiro Musical in our website!

The football pub, a tribute to popular football songs

The Decade Domes, each one designed to house information on a specific decade, from the musical point of view

 

pictures by Fran Parente