“The most compelling aspect is that the firm developed a structural timber system specifically for the project – it’s not the application of an existing one, it’s entirely unique”
Micasa is São Paulo’s leading retailer of contemporary design, and over the years it has expanded its floor space by commissioning architects to create standalone buildings in the shape of cubes, then using these to showcase furniture and lighting by the likes of Patricia Urquiola, Jasper Morrison and Jean Prouvé. Volume C is the third such building, and like its predecessors, it’s a stunningly sculptural vessel – as beautiful inside as it is out. Designed by a central figure of the Brazilian modernist movement, Marcio Kogan, the 15-by15-square-metre box, accessed via massive sliding doors, is partly wrapped in a translucent polycarbonate that diffuses sunlight and captures the shadows of nearby trees. At night it takes on a lantern-like glow. Inside, Kogan left the glulam wood framing exposed as a nod to the traditional Japanese architecture he has admired for years. The laminated timber frames are spaced out at 1.95-metre intervals, and every other module is reinforced with a steel rod cross brace. A narrow gap has been left between the pillars and interior walls, for an added glimpse at how the building is constructed. Kogan compares this small but essential detail to revealing the skeleton that supports the skin. While furniture will no doubt be on regular display at Volume C, the intention is for the space to be as flexible as possible for hosting parties, events and other happenings. There has already been a refurbished Airstream caravan parked inside, used to house an artist in residence.