REVIEW: Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo

Four Seasons enlists San Francisco-based design studio Bamo to create an interior scheme rich in Paulistano flavour for its first outpost in Brazil.

Perched above the treetops overlooking the leafy green spaces along the Pinheiros river, The Presidential Suite at Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo is a showcase for Brazilian design, with San Francisco-based studio Bamo devising a scheme that pays homage to the country’s creative heritage.

In developing their vision, Bamo principals Michael Booth and Anne Wilkinson took cues from native architects Oscar Niemeyer and Burle Marx, creating an international luxury aesthetic rendered in Brazilian materials and infused with classic Paulistano flavour.

“We were greatly inspired by the design approach of some of the Brazilian greats but did not want to mimic any one style specifically,” explains Booth. “Our goal was to capture the Brazilian soul, fusing relaxed modernism with artful details and sensuous materiality to create a story that appeals to the international traveller and local design enthusiasts alike,” adds Wilkinson.

Epitomising the design team’s approach, the 14th floor Presidential Suite is characterised by locally sourced finishes such as Brazilian granite, Jatoba wood and a leather area rug in place of carpet. The overall palette brings together earthy patterns, contrasting wooden tones with satin brass accents and bursts of marigold, while a sense of transparency is created via a slatted wall separating the bedroom and bathroom.

“We wanted to create something that was a showcase for Brazilian design in a clean, modern, gallery-like feel,” Booth and Wilkinson continue. “The suite sits above the treeline, removed from the bustle of the city, so we also played up that feeling of openness and maximised the views and light as much as possible.”

With panoramas across the Parque da Cidade district, the suite shines a light on local craft in a living room featuring Mid-century seating and a curving chaise longue. From the Dinamarquesa lounge chair by Jorge Zalszupin to iconic pieces from architect Sergio Rodrigues, the native designs complement bespoke millwork seating in ebonised wood and a desk with a South American-inspired chair, as well as furnishings and sculptures dotted throughout the hotel, such as Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s famed Paulistano chair, and a dome of glowing glass orbs by Brazilian sculptor Francisco Brennand.

In the master bedroom, textile artist Nani Chirellato’s wallcovering provides a disruption in texture from the warm grey walls – adorned by abstract artworks from local artists such as Karen de Picciotto, Jose Munhoz, Cassio Lazaro and Arnaldo Bataglini – while a headboard crafted from South American tonewood, Pau Ferro, and handwoven fabric inlay panels complete the somewhat patriotic aesthetic.

“The use of travertine, burled wood, dark-stained ipe and a light-toned plaster throughout formed the ideal backdrop for a design that features striking colours, modern Brazilian furnishings and local artwork,” Booth concludes. “Each of these were key to the success of the suite.”

Housed within a 29-storey tower masterminded by HKS Architects and Aflalo & Gasperini Architects, the hotel features 258 guestrooms, a spa, and a lobby bar and restaurant designed by Bamo, as well as a restaurant, ballroom and meeting space by EDG Design. Completing the development are 12 floors of private residences by Brazilian architect Arthur Casas.

Words: Ben Thomas

Photography: © Aaron Leitz

This feature originally ran in Sleeper 86