“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.

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