São Paulo – Brazil’s space agency recently shared a shocking number: compared to June of last year, deforestation in the country’s side of the Amazon rose more than 88 per cent. To environmentalists, the rainforest’s fast decay is a direct results of the policies of rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro – often called the Brazilian Trump.
So, when a concept store in São Paulo envisions an idiosyncratic post-apocalyptic reality where nature takes back the land, particularly from shopping malls like the one it’s located in, it’s a self-effacing but painfully timely statement.
That’s the gist of Conceito ê, a retailer specialized in sustainably produced garments and accessories. Formerly an online-only venture and a pop-up shop in the Shopping Cidade Jardim, its store design and inventory proved so successful that owners Luiza Andreazza and Giovanna Arede decided to open a permanent setup in the mall. Given the positive response to their first space, they decided to, once more, give local studio Pistache Ganache carte blanche to design their new location.
‘What will these huge infrastructures, these shopping malls, look like in 100 years’ time?’ then asked Pistache Ganache’s Martina Brusius. ‘These buildings are some sort of ancient monument to the Gods of Consumption. Ancient contemporary ruins.’
With that in mind, Brusius and partner André Romitelli sook inspiration in photographs of abandoned swimming pools, where nature starts reclaiming its rightful place, and layered those images with the detailed tile work of the Saunas and Baths painting series by Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão. To bring the brand ethos to spatial life, the duo made sure to include reused tiles sourced from a ‘tile cemetery’ in São Paulo, and placed plants inside a biodegradable CNC-cut cardboard substructure, which structures the soil as it decomposes, giving the garden the desired shape and volume. But most importantly, they let the ‘bones’ of the building come out. During construction, they ‘discovered a wall that was the actual skeleton of the building, crossed with metal beams and roughcast,’ and decided to leave it out in the open as an archeological statement of sorts. Ancient contemporary ruins, indeed.
‘We are under a government that sees our natural resources as nothing but financial resources, as we see the advance of agriculture over the Amazon forest grow year after year,’ stated Romitelli. ‘The idea of nature taking over the place is the opposite concept of the present political scenario. But then again… we admire the autopoiesis and the natural resilience of the Amazon.’