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Personal perspective by Marlene van Rooyen, editor in chief 

I was recently invited by Anfacer and Ceramics of Brazil to the Expo Revestir launch event. As the only African media there, I felt rather special and will duly report back on this incredible experience. 

As part of the media event, we were invited to a specially curated ten-course meal with the head designer and Expo Revestir leadership at the incredible Blaise Restaurant at the Rosewood Hotel. 

Location and heritage setting 

Set a stone’s throw from the bustling Avenida Paulista, Rosewood São Paulo, it is evident why the hotel has garnered the awards it has – including one of the world’s 50 best hotels, best hotel in South America and the AHEAD Hotel of the Year Award. 

Designed by French architect, Jean Nouvel, and designer, Philippe Starck, the goal for this hotel was to honour Brazil and preserve its rich history. 

Not only is this hotel a marvel of design, but it has also been lauded for its commitment to sustainability, from both an environmental and cultural perspective. 

This 30 000m² mixed-used lifestyle hub is set within the historical enclave of Cidade Matarazzo, a complex of elegantly preserved buildings from the early 20th century that have been carefully transformed into private residences, high-end stores and entertainment venues. 

The hotel occupies the historic former hospital, Matarazzo Maternity, as well as a striking new vertical garden tower. 

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The lobby carpets bring together insects, centipedes, spiders, crickets, butterflies, ants and other creatures, laid out on a bed of leaves.

Sustainability is a key factor 

Sustainable features executed in the property’s design include a biodiversity programme that repopulates the indigenous flora and fauna from the Mata Atlantica rainforest, including 250 trees up to 14 metres in height placed vertically on the Mata Atlantica Tower. 

The property has sourced all materials locally since its inception, furthering its connection to local culture while celebrating and supporting the community and its providers. It has also been designed to operate on 100% renewable energy and uses responsible waste management processes.  

Perhaps most meaningful, Rosewood São Paulo has put several initiatives in place to empower the local community, including a focus on recruiting talent from underserved groups, collaborating with local businesses and investing in the growth of its associates. 

Hyper-local décor 

The interiors mix modernity with the country’s natural landscape and deep design legacy. To this end, Starck chose a palette of earth tones, local wood and marble, and featured furnishings by Brazilian designers. 

Treating the property like a once-in-a-lifetime art project, the design team was sure to commission artists from across the spectrum who could truly epitomise Brazil’s dynamic and its multi-faceted culture. Together, the artists represent a wide range of artist expression, from street art to indigenous art. 

All of them were tasked to create site-specific works for virtually every space on the property. The artists were given just one guideline: Creativity that respects the past yet points to the future. As a result, the Rosewood Hotel effectively is Brazil’s next great contemporary art museum – one that celebrates the natural beauty, rich history and diverse culture of its homeland. 

A commitment to elevating the country’s creatives, artists and artisans are shown through a permanent collection of 450 site-specific artworks, created in partnership with 57 Brazilian artists. 

Bespoke carpets 

The hotel features bespoke carpets from two local artists, Regina Silveira and Ananda Nahu. 

Silveira designed Tropicals, a set of eight carpets specially designed for the lobby of the Cidade Matarazzo Hotel, which aims to parodically refer to the imagery of Brazilian fauna. 

Nahu designed the carpets in the event studio display and office entrance, with Brazilian nature and culture evident in several layers. 

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Nahu’s designs focus on organic shapes and patterns that evoke Brazil’s lush nature.

Tropicals 

The eight floor carpets in the 160-room hotel are composed of a mixture that brings together insects, centipedes, spiders, crickets, butterflies, ants and other creatures – laid out on a bed of leaves, in the form of summarised flora. The set has different shapes and colours, but the drawn inscription is always the same, arranged modularly and sometimes including small differences in scale. 

Silveira’s aim for the installation was how people would walk on this background of mixed creatures. Sometimes the pattern is just beautiful, but it can also be disturbing, as the figures were deliberately made larger than the feet that will walk over them – these creatures cannot be crushed! Perhaps imaginatively, they could hide under the leaves or escape from the bottom of the carpets? 

Silver and gold 

The two carpets are heavily influenced by Brazil’s rich visual culture, incorporating elements and symbols found in Brazilian iconography. The colours evoke earth tones, clay ground, along with organic shapes and patterns that evoke the country’s lush nature, and references to Afro-Brazilian and indigenous culture. 

The art combines vibrant colours, organic shapes and dynamic lines that reinterpret traditional patterns to meet contemporary needs. The gold corridor represents Brazilian inspirations, and the silver corridor showcases European influences that are part of the place’s history. 

My deep thanks go to Anfacer, Ceramics of Brazil and Expo Revestir for the invitation and experience. 

Come experience more at Expo Revestir from 19 – 22 March.  

The Rosewood Hotel in São Paulo embraces hyper-local through curated art and bespoke carpets from Brazilian artists.  

Acknowledgement and thanks go to https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/sao-paulo/ for the information in this article. For more information, visit https://reginasilveira.com/ or https://www.anahu.com/. 

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