Sao Paulo aka Sampa is not just the largest city of Brazil, it is also the largest city in the southern hemisphere. The city may not get instant recall in comparison to other world cities but it plays a pivotal role in the fields of commerce, finance, art and culture at the global level.
A mild year-round climate makes Sao Paulo a great spot to visit any time of the year. The most hospitable time of the year is from June to December when the temperatures are pleasant and there is little rain. It is also during these months that the city’s social calendar is packed with various events.
In the 20th century, Sao Paulo saw a meteoric rate of development and many historical monuments were sacrificed to make space for skyscrapers. But some of the 17th century architecture survived and provides an interesting contrast in the largely modern skyline.
Playing To The Gallery
Three large slobbering lips look down on the passers-by and stop them in their tracks. If you think that locals are used to the attention-grabbing façade of the Melissa flagship store, think again. The design of the store, both the outside and the inside is updated every three months.
Bold graphics depicting different themes cover the towering walls of the shop’s exterior. The current graphics of the lips represent the brand’s latest collection Eat My Melissa.
In the past, the space has seen graphic representation of the dense Amazon jungle, and on another occasion the designer’s vision of what tropical plants in the future may look like.
An African-themed installation also incorporated a sculpture of an elephant to boost the drama quotient further. Most of the installations are created on the computer by designer Muti Randolph and then printed.
But one especially stunning visual was created by creating a design with post-its of different colours. About 3,50,000 post-its covered every inch on the walls and visitors were invited to fill them with messages of love.
The interior of the store continues in the same eclectic tone that is set by the exteriors. The shoes are displayed in bubbles suspended from the ceiling or mounted on the walls. The graphics on the walls are also changed to mirror the theme set by the outside. No wonder then that Galeria Melissa, doubles up as both a shoe store and an art gallery.
A Place In The Sun
A white stucco-exteriored building, a wooden door and a minimalist signboard that says ‘KAA’ grabs your attention at this restaurant known not just for its food but also its stunning architecture. One step through the door and it is clear why.
The space is long, narrow and windowless but the layout is such that what should have been constraints have been turned into highlights. A retractable roof takes up half of the high ceiling and floods the area with natural light.
The wall in that part is covered with live plants, 7000 of them. That along with a shallow pool gives it an oasis-like vibe. The colour palette is earthy and muted and helps add to the warm and cosy ambience. KAA hits all the right notes in providing an inside-outside experience.
Museu Paulista stands as an insignia of Brazil’s freedom from Portugal.
The outstanding architecture of the building and its size is especially impressive because it was built in the 19th century when Sao Paulo did not have the know-how or the skilled labour to undertake this mammoth task.
The musuem building is designed along the lines of the Versailles Palace complete with the manicured lawns that stretch in front of it. Art, sculpture, photographs, maps and other objects make up the museum’s vast collection that spans four centuries.
One Of A Kind
There is no denying the fact that this hotel in Sao Paulo is unique. And it is not just because it is named Hotel Unique, the building is unlike any other in the world.
The Hotel building was designed to look like the hull of a ship with its unusual crescent shape and windows shaped like port holes. The locals though have nicknamed it Watermelon owing to its shape which is reminiscent of a slice of watermelon.
Text By Himali Kothari