São Paulo based architect Jorge Elias talks to us about his luxurious and inviting country home.
Over the last 28 years, architect Jorge Elias has earned the reputation as to being one of Brazil’s most respected and revered architects. His work on projects such as Leopoldo Restaurant, Daslu, Empório Santa Maria, and countless others globally has ensured his success and longevity in the industry.
After having graduated from the School of Architecture Brás Cubas in Mogi das Cruzes in 1981, Jorge Elias spent another two years studying History of Art, Architecture and Furniture at the University of Rome.
This holistic approach to architecture has left the architect with a keen and unique eye when designing spaces. For him, it’s not just about the space and its dimensions. It’s about how it will end up looking, what will go in it, how will it be used and perhaps most importantly how it will make you feel once inside. He doesn’t just create spaces, he creates an atmosphere.
Having been born in Ituverava, it is perhaps no surprise that when Jorge Elias decided to find his dream country house he chose to return to São Paulo’s countryside. Located 60 miles outside of São Paulo, nestled in the lush vegetation, he found a coffee farm that dated back to the 19th century. This, now, sprawling estate had been left derelict for almost 50 years but thanks to Jorge’s vision was totally repurposed and given a new lease on life.
The transition from coffee farm to country estate is a spectacular and complete one. Although now serving a completely different purpose, the property has not lost its authenticity at all. It is a beautiful, warm and inviting home that honours and best captures and celebrates the colonial Brazilian Style.
From its sweeping gardens to its perfectly staged and curated interiors, the home contrasts yet blends with its natural surrounds. The property is a homage to artistry and acts as a curator of the past.
We sat down with the property’s creator and owner to find out more on the process of creating this estate and what it means to him.
As this is a historic property, do you find that that works with or against a designer when creating a new space?
It both helps and challenges the designer. It originally served as an 18th-century colonial Portuguese coffee plantation. Having been owned by the same family of coffee producers all of these years, it had eventually been abandoned. It laid derelict for 50 years. When I bought it, it was basically a ruin. So to take that and convert it into a liveable functioning home with 12 bedrooms was quite a challenge.
With so much to draw from, where do you start with your designing process?
Although the property has a long and rich history, due to its state, there was not much to draw from. But, with restoration work, anything is possible when you approach it with the right attitude. But this is easier for me as I do professional restoration work. Due to the historic significance of this property, it is considered a landmark and as such is protected by the Historic Heritage Association of Brazil. So in some senses that guides you as to what can and can’t be done.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your design?
The biggest challenge has been the interior work. As this is an authentic restoration, the most difficult aspect has been to find the furniture and decor pieces. Finding Brazilian 18th-century furniture is exceptionally difficult. These pieces are beyond rare and when you do find them they are terribly expensive!
What is your favourite piece or area on the property?
My favourite space has to be the dining room! I love it. It is a wonderful space where both family and friends come together. With a table that seats 28, there is a lot of space so we love to congregate here for meals and conversation.