Brazilian architect Felipe Hess takes est inside his family home in São Paulo’s verdant Jardim Paulistano neighbourhood, capturing a long-held passion for mid-century modern design. 

Brazilian architect Felipe Hess has forged an impressive portfolio – in its breadth of scale, aesthetic and intent. One of Felipe’s earliest projects in the architect’s home city of São Paulo, Casa Pinheiros, was first released in 2013 and remains just as unaffected by time and trends today. 

Felipe’s home is located in São Paulo’s exclusive area of Jardim Paulistano – meaning ‘gardens’ in Portuguese, known for its lush greenery. While close to the city centre, the architect says it’s a calm contrast. 

Originally designed by architect Rodolpho Ortenblad in 1957, Felipe Hess restored and evolved the mid-century home to share with his wife Cris, a fashion designer, their 7-year-old son Otto and white boxer dog, Gastão. Reflecting the creative minds of those that live there, the home is a treasure trove of Danish design, enlivened by light and greenery.

Felipe used period photos to reinstate Rodolpho Ortenblad’s design details in his home. The house, which was awarded at the Salão Paulista de Arte Moderna in 1960, maintains its mid-century modern characteristics while adapting to the demands of present-day family life.

Reproducing the original frames, new wooden and glass doors open up to the garden. “I have respected the original design and chosen some new textures like the white brick patchwork on the facades, the wooden floor and the limestone for the bathrooms,” Felip says. The architect also revived the interior wood panels and crazy paving stone floor – as well as exterior shutters. “The colour palette is white, brown and beige,” he adds, a respectful nod to what came before. 

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The Safari Chair in black leather by Kaare Klint.

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“Home is a place that reflects the owners and their personality, and not the architect’s desires.”

 

– Architect Felipe Hess

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The architect says he prefers to spend his time in the living room at the new fireplace and in the office, where he’s surrounded by books and his favourite records. Felipe is a fervent collector of Danish design pieces that feel right at home among the warm and tactile material palette. “I love Danish midcentury design, which is very hard to find in Brazil. So I’m always looking on the internet, in antique shops, and abroad for new pieces,” he says. “I have some pieces in storage and am always rearranging pieces in the home.” Iconic objects include the J16 Rocking Chair by Hans J.Wegner, Safari chair by Klaare Klint, 524 Tabouret Berger Stool by Charlotte Perriand and Nanna Ditzel Basket chair. The Louis Poulsen and LE KLINT lighting express the same calibre of Scandinavian design. 

When asked his definition of home, Felipe maintains, “home is a place that reflects the owners and their personality, and not the architect’s desires.” It’s this belief that threads its way through Felipe’s own home, reflecting a personal approach to architecture and lifelong appreciation for midcentury design. 

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