In the seaside suburb of Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, MNMA Studio has designed a stunning boutique for the Brazilian beachwear label, HAIGHT. The design complies with the language of the brand that stands apart for its aesthetics, which are marked by clean lines, unexpected shapes and block colours. Located on the ground floor of a residential high rise building, the 80 sqm store is painted in a palette of earthy hues and brutalist primitive forms. The Sao Paolo-based studio, led by architects André Papato and Mariana Schmidt, said the initial brief by the client demanded that the place be rendered a 'destination', and not merely a store.
Interestingly, the designers have created a unity between the inside and outside spaces by rebuilding both the sidewalk and the façade in stone. While creating a seamless transition for people entering the store, this intervention was to, “configure the commonplace for the brand and their customers to relate to each other,” say Papato and Schmidt.
Integrated within the walls are two glazed openings - a twin door on the left and a glass wall on the right - revealing glimpses of the sand-soaked interiors. Once inside, the volume is segregated in two levels - the lower being the display section, and a small mezzanine floor provided for dressing.
The designers referred to this mezzanine as the ‘subtle second floor’ of the project, which is also the most striking component of the design. This level has been designed in response to a structural challenge as a large column in the middle of the space was obstructing the open plan. The studio adopted this column as a source of ‘positive subversion’ by forming a glass box around it to make it appear lightly hovering in the air. Projected on a new slab, this level can be accessed via a series of concrete stairs.
“We created this floating intermediary platform as a dressing room, above the original level, to create a strong and playful user experience. From that the whole design is arranged, locating the wet areas and storage places behind, and the display room surrounding it,” explain the designers.
Every floor, walls, ceilings and furniture redefine the space with simplicity, but not simplistically, displaying raw materials. – André Papato and Mariana Schmidt, MNMA studio
The overall design of the store reflects a pristine poise and a subtle indulgence, in a manner similar to the minimalist and modern designs of the swimwear label. The use of exposed concrete and unpolished stones in a beautiful raw and unfinished state give a hand-made quality overall. Passalacqua, a Brazilian company that provides interior décor solutions, nourished the space with artisanal warmth by developing clay-based toned cement, paint and other coating.
A series of cavernous openings give a subtle bend to the rigidness that permeates the space. These details provide an element of decoration in the larger scheme that remains austere. Furthermore, adding a pinch of glamour are sinuous metal wires that run along the walls from which hangs the latest HAIGHT collection. These appear much like the alluring models themselves donning stylish beachwear.
Intangible elements like silence, breathing, pause and light provide sensory stimulations and when combined together, they create a new atmosphere and experiences. With material as their protagonist and ambience as the backdrop, the project imbibes the spirit of one of those glimmering sun-tanned beaches of Rio, the joie de vivre of Brazil.
Project DetailsName of the project: HAIGHT Store
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Architect: MNMA Studio
Design Team: Andre Pepato, Mariana Schmidt