This is the project for a Vitra retail furniture store in São Paulo. We are using the materials in their extreme conditions, such as fair faced concrete without any concern for precision and finish, or the skin of the rear volume, where we are using several layers of steel mesh usually used to reinforce concrete slab, found on the site.
The interior walls were neither given a final finish; we left the chalk markings made by the workers during the work, almost an archaeological revelation. The exterior floor is covered by the gravel also used in the concrete mix. It is almost an X-ray of the materials.
Puxadinho: building on what is already built
Popular Brazilian urban constructions, consolidating previously poor neighbourhoods built with unstable materials, specialised in the building of what is called "puxadinhos" (annexes), small extensions, vertical or horizontal, constructed out of different elements of materials. The modern Latin-American cities, always renewing and evolving their tissue, have incorporated this culture and created a program for architecture: building on what is already built.
The Micasa Volume B store is an annex, a "puxadinho" of a pre-existing store. A small tunnel connects the entrance to the showroom of the initial store, and is installed perpendicularly in relation to the new area. A patio located at the end of the plot provides access to the store and the design studio. The interior ground plan of the annex shows a large space designed to provide an ample, dynamic area to house the VITRA showroom displaying furniture which Micasa sells. The front facade is a broad showcase of impressive proportions, low and long, which every now and then displays the owner’s antique car collection.
The building was constructed using simple materials and simple designs. Simple and modern. It recalls the artisan popular civil constructions, and, above all, the modern Brazilian "brutalism" buildings, rediscovered below the equator and attentive to local traditions. The facades of the store were constructed in a rather unusual manner using reinforced fair-faced concrete: the outer form, generally made very precisely with new lumber, is used here randomly, chaotically, and some wood was not even removed after curing.
The sun-breakers in the offices are made of metal meshes usually used as reinforcing bars for concrete. These delicate steel laces, placed vertically, function as light filters in the large windows.
The construction process of the building was fundamental to the project; in fact, the project itself was supplemented and recreated during the building. Some of the solutions used, such as the reinforced concrete and the steel laces, were decided at the construction site and some of the creative actions were transferred to the builders.
The memory of the construction process remained in the exposed archaeology of the building: the "X’s" of the tape on the windows and, on the inner walls, the workers’ notes on the project. These walls have no covering, no paint: a raw texture of the material provides the original finish. The construction phases are delicately displayed on the completed building, starting with the use of these materials; they are x-rays of the entire project and the construction site, signs of the building’s recent history that, with the passing of time, have been added to the ever modern cities of the southern hemisphere.
Text: Marcio and Gabriel Kogan (MK27).
L’intervento è consistito nell’annessione di un nuovo volume al vecchio store. La nuova struttura è collegata al volume esistente attraverso un piccolo corridoio perpendicolare allo spazio di nuova costruzione. Quest’ultimo è stato concepito come un dinamico open space per l’esposizione della collezione Vitra. Un patio realizzato ai margini del lotto dà accesso allo showroom.
Il nuovo volume disegnato da Kogan appare rustico e moderno al tempo stesso. Interamente realizzato in cemento armato, presenta, sulla facciata principale, una vetrina stretta e lunga di ampie dimensioni la cui leggerezza contrasta con la solidità del cemento.
“Abbiamo utilizzato i materiali – spiegano dallo studio MK27 – nelle loro condizioni più estreme, come il cemento a vista senza la preoccupazione di ottenere un risultato preciso di finitura, oppure l’involucro del volume retrostante rivestito di diverse lastre metalliche generalmente utilizzate come strato sul quale posare le lastre di cemento.
Analogamente, le pareti interne non presentano una finitura di particolare precisione. In alcuni punti sono ancora visibili le tracce di gesso lasciate dagli operai durante il cantiere, come se si trattasse di una scoperta archeologica”.
Secondo lo stesso principio di utilizzo caotico e casuale dei materiali, il sistema di schermatura degli uffici è stato realizzato con le travi di rinforzo per il cemento. Ne risulta un “delicato ricamo verticale in acciaio” che funge da filtro solare.
Per la pavimentazione esterna sono state utilizzate le pietre frantumate per la produzione del calcestruzzo.