DE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW with Brazilian architect Arthur Casas, principal architect at Studio Arthur Casas in Sao Paulo & New York.
ARTHUR CASAS a Brazilian architect with offices in Sao Paulo and New York who is well known for his works in Tokyo, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, New York and São Paulo, creating a vocabulary that is recognised and published internationally.
DE Editor in chief Anirudh Datta had a detailed interaction with the internationally acclaimed architect for the DE Spotlight interview series where Arthur talks about his design journey and shares his latest residential projects for our “beautiful homes edition”– The TP Apartment in Paris, France and the JY House in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
From the object to the landscape, inside out, the creative process of Studio Arthur Casas is intimately connected to a horizontal scale, where the main concern is the dialogue in the conception of programs that can be as diverse as a chair or an entire neighbourhood, influenced by a spirit both modernist and contemporary that is Brazilian but also cosmopolitan.
“Our creative process assumes that in architecture the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. it is the quality of the whole that permeates, controls and affects every detail of our design. therefore, our attention is directed to all scales, from architecture to furniture, from the smallest of the objects to the choice of all the materials used. the perception of the environments happens totally, not only with our eyes, but with all our senses, our bodies and our emotions.” says Arthur.
AD : What inspired you to pursue a career in Architecture & Design?
AC : There are children who create computer programmes, others write books, I would design houses. In 1973, at only 12, I conceived my first project, a child’s play. First, there was no specific client. Part of the architecture is about establishing a dialogue with the person who you are designing to. I made up the programme, the client and the plot. But architecture is also about observation, and we pay attention to what interests us, especially when we are kids.
AD : Who were your early design heroes and role models?
AC : I look up to Frank Lloyd Wright, for his inherent command of scale and his unwavering commitment to applying it at each stage of a project’s completion.
AD : Tell us something about your journey in the inception of Studio Arthur Casas.
AC : The Expo 2015 Brazil pavilion was a project that made Studio be recognised internationally, as well as the Emiliano Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Studio’s projects are based on human beings and their needs, as well as the search for the best possible relation with the landscape. Architecture is born in symbiosis with the interior design and the real scale of contemporary furniture, considering routes and, rationally, optimising the occupation of a space.
AD : Being from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is there any specific style of architecture you love to follow that represents your city and country?
AC : I grew up in São Paulo, in a neighbourhood full of trees that, unlike the massive majority of the city, was entirely planned. I spent my childhood going through the winding streets of Alto da Lapa, in the west zone, redoing the route imagined by the urban planners of Companhia City, a company based in London and that for a long time was an absolute reference in urban planning for São Paulo residents. This, perhaps, was my first contact with a foreign vision of how spaces could be thought and planned.
AD : In few words, how would you define your design process – philosophy?
AC : Humanism is the basis of my work, I am always the main character of my projects. I’ve got to be happy in the spaces I create – it’s for this purpose that I understand architecture. The Studio reflects and translates the uniqueness of customers into architecture. By internalising customers / users, we create an architecture tailored to them, on demand, which best meets their needs and lifestyle.
AD : You’re most proud – favorite project till now? Anything specific you like to share about this project that makes it special for you?
AC : The house that I designed for my family, 17 years ago on the beach, was a game changer – a moment of revival for authorial architecture in Brazil.
AD : Tell us something you really liked about your latest project – “the TP Apartment” in Paris?
AC : In the TP Apartment in Paris, I like the way the original structure of the apartment was preserved in its original aspect while also connecting the social area that has the living room, the dining room and the kitchen. The furniture was carefully chosen to delimit each area, defining the layout. There are also hand-picked art pieces that complete the finishing of the project.
AD : Tell us something about one of your favorite houses you designed recently?
AC : That would be the JY House in Porto Feliz, Brazil. The integration of interior and exterior is beautiful, as if the landscape was being brought into the house. The two displaced volumes also provide an interesting architectural character to the house. The house is also sustainable, which is a very important aspect to the Studio.
AD : This edition is about celebrating the essence of our Homes, staying indoors safe in this pandemic made us connect with our homes more than ever. How would you define your process to design a residence that transforms the living of the resident?
AC : I’ve noticed that what has changed was the fact that people understand have understood how healthy it is to live adequately, with beauty and comfort. At the beginning of the pandemic I thought our field would go through a moment of deep recession, but we have never, and I am being very honest, we’ve never been so busy. Everyone with some financial backing in Brazil and outside is investing in the quality of their homes like never before. The family has never coexisted so much and so intensely as in this period. My creative process assumes that, in architecture, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. The quality of the whole is a consequence of the care given to all the details of our design. For this reason, my attention is directed to all scales, from the building to the furniture. The Studio’s projects are harmonious and generate empathy. We think about the projects taking into account the experience that the client will have in the space. Our architecture is designed to enhance the experience of those who will enjoy it.
AD : The world is now slowly realising the seriousness about climate change. What is your take on sustainable practice in architecture today?
AC : In our projects we aggregate design and architectural resources that allow us to make the constructions durable and sustainable to the most through high quality building systems. To achieve this, we count on a multidisciplinary team for each project, capable of creating many solution possibilities, based on circular economy and reuse systems concepts. This way, it is possible to create new experiences for the users and guarantee each project’s high quality and sustainability.
Read the full interview below in our DE magazine Edition.