Miguel Pinto Guimarães

Professional in Architecture Design.

About Miguel Pinto Guimarães

In the Brazilian skyline, the projects of Miguel Pinto Guimarães appear integrated to the natural and urban landscape without the pretension to make its proportions compete with the environment. Nature comes first, and soon to follow its simple and clean architecture inserted in a free and assumedly brazilian context. Smooth solutions, finishes and shapes, are part of his production. The result of his work is realized with the minimum of enviromental impact and the maximum of harmony in a unique concept that harmonizes interior and exterior. Miguel, born in 1974, was drawing houses in his notebooks since childhood. Residential projects, hotels, schools, art galleries and restaurants with his signature are spread across the country's main cities, mountains, beach and countryside.

  • 3-Time Winner of Architecture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Architecture Design.
  • 3 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Architecture
Nascimento Chapel

Nascimento Chapel

Architecture Design

Grabowsky House

Grabowsky House

Architecture Design

Eleva School

Eleva School

Architecture Design


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Interview with Miguel Pinto Guimarães

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I started as a trainee very early, in high school. I was pretty sure I was going to be an architect. During childhood I was used to draw cities, boats, houses. I remember drawing an Olympic masterplan for Seoul in 1988, for example. I was 13 by that time. It was my hobby, my greatest fun. I didn't surf, I didn't play ball. I drew. From Friday to Sunday, until dawn. It was natural for me to pursue these after school hours internships. I worked for a year with Cadas Abranches (A very known architect in Brazil), while I was 15 and after that I went as a trainee into the office of Claudio Bernardes, one of the most important architectural firms in Brazil. There I met again with an old childhood friend, Thiago Bernardes, his son, who was already working in his father's office. We were 16 years old then. From there, we entered both in different architecture universities. Already in the first year of college we started doing some interior projects together, first the bedrooms of our friends and a little beach house for two brothers in the land of their parents. That was in 1993. We continue with our projects, parallel to the internship. In 1994 we decided to go out and open our own studio.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Excluding periods as a trainee, I have always owned my architecture studios. At the age of 19 I opened, together with Thiago Bernardes, my first studio "Miguel Guimarães and Thiago Bernardes Associated Architects". We worked together for over 8 years. With the death of Thiago's father, the renowned architect Claudio Bernardes, we were invited by his partner, Paulo Jacobsen, to join the two offices. In 2001 "Bernardes Jacobsen Guimarães" (BJG) was founded. Two years later, in 2003, at the age of 29, I decided to leave BJG and openes my own studio, "Miguel Pinto Guimarães Arquitetos Associados". The "Bernardes" brand, so important to the history of Brazilian architecture, made up of three generations of excellent architects, had become so strong, that I felt compelled to follow my own path. Shortly thereafter, Bernardes and Jacobsen also separated. The most curious is that, after more than 15 years, the three studios stand out in the scenario of Brazilian architecture. Today, "Miguel Pinto Guimarães Arquitetos Associados", created 16 years ago, has about 25 people working between the two offices in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Most of our portfolio is made of residences, but we carry out various projects such as residential and commercial buildings, numerous restaurants and shops, some hotels, schools, museums, sports arenas, parks and urban projects. Usually we have 30 to 40 projects, of several scales being developed at the same time and about 600 projected until today.
What is "design" for you?
Architecture and Design are the art of bringing beauty and functionality to both public and private lives. Architecture, as well as art, also has the function of educating the eye. Seeing and living the good built art will create tools that can improve people aesthetics, who will always demand, from then on, cities with better services, better quality buildings and design of excellence. It is very important to always keep in mind that architecture and design should serve humankind. We must always project with the human scale in mind.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I confess that the unknown always attracts me! Working on typologies that we are not used to deal, excites me. The opportunity to study and observe for new works, oxygenates my architecture. Three years ago, for example, we won a competition to design a school of 1300 students in Rio de Janeiro. In the last three years, we have designed 4 schools for the same group. So, from nothing, a new specialty became part of our skills.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My favorite design typology is residential architecture. Maybe it's our first specialty. It can be apartments, penthouses, urban houses, country houses, beach houses. This is where I project with greater ability and mastery.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
I began designing the interior of some friends' bedrooms, hired by their parents. Next, I projected a small house of two brothers built on the backyard of their family's beach house in Rio de Janeiro.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
While designing, my favorite materials are paper and graphite! While constructing, we always specify natural materials for both architecture and interior design. Wood, stone, straw, concrete, linen, leather are among my favourites.
When do you feel the most creative?
When the client pays in advance! (It's a joke!) On the days when I have to create and not just atend the daily demands of the office, I have some small but important rituals. I'll clear up my desk first. I can not be creative on chaos. I need to be in a T-shirt and with barefoot. A Coke with ice on the side ... Those are the wings to the imagination!
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
I design from the inside out. I privilege the function and not the form. When a project is well resolved in its proportions and spaces, its form will naturally be harmonious and beautiful. I seek incessantly simplicity. With the experience, I learned that the best project will always be the simplest. The main objective of any project is to respect and dialogue with the surrounding nature. The site itself, the solar orientation will always guide the project. Large open spaces, internal gardens, natural lighting and ventilation merging with the surroundings, lack of boundaries between interior and exterior are the main aspects of our design.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
It's impressive. When I'm in the middle of the designing process, and the project is flowing well, I'm taken over by an energizing joy. I practically stand up, and with broad, theatrical gestures, I feel like the maestro of a symphonic orchestra, conducting some complex Bach symphony. Even if alone, in a small studio, lit only by a table lamp. It's cathartic!
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
It's just like having a child. That building becomes a member of your own family. A close relative. You feel like loving, caring, you want to visit frequently. I suffer when it gets sick or grow old.
What makes a design successful?
Simplicity, Sustainability, Landscape Integration, Acceptance by Nature.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Again, simplicity comes first. Austerity. Architecture and Design, in my opinion, should be stripped of accessories or ornaments. Anything that is not essential is dispensable.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
We have full responsibility in designing both for the private and the public dimensions. When designing for a private client, we still have to contribute to the community, always respecting the relationship between the building and the city around it. When space is public, architecture also plays a fundamental role in its organization or revitalization. Cities are living organisms and both urbanism and architecture act as therapies, or as surgical interventions that heal tissues, organs, and reorganize circulations and energies. Architecture, as well as art, also has the function of educating the eye. Seeing and living the good built art will create tools that can improve people aesthetics, who will always demand, from then on, cities with better services, better quality buildings and design of excellence. It is very important to always keep in mind that architecture and design should serve human being. We must always think of the environments, public or private, by the human scale. Sustainability is also important, although the word has been banalized here and there. The use of natural and recycled materials, rational buildings, low impact construction and excellence in design will always have a positive impact on the urban environment.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
The speed the world evolves will definitely transform human labor as we know it. Traditional careers will disappear. New professions that we can not even imagine will be created. However, I believe creative industry will survive this imminent tsunami. Regardless of how the design will be produced or consumed, design thinking will remain fundamental. Creativity, audacity and courage will always be the essential propulsion for humanity to take its great steps, climb the stairs of human evolution. The creative industry will play a leading role in the world that is being created in front of our eyes.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
We have presented our work to the public in art galleries. The next presentation will be a horizontal condominium of 8 houses called OPY.Ará, in partnership with the architect Sergio Conde Caldas. We will host a vernissage on June 6th at Lurixs Gallery, which we have recently projected in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
Living and observing the daily life, the city, people that come and go. Everything and everyone interests me and are important to my creativity. New and different people, cultures, countries, arts, culinary. A visit to Cambodia can be as important as reference for me, as a trip to the Nordic countries and their excellence in design. Outside my office, architecture doesn't matter. Life, human beings are much more inspiring. Music and the visual arts play a fundamental role in feeding my imagery repertoire. They are essential while expanding our pores to new formal, chromatic and spatial matters. Artists as Vik Muniz, Adriana Varejão, Beatriz Milhazes, Helio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Richard Serra and Donald Judd have enormous influence on my work.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
Maybe I'm considered contemporary. I'm against this stylization. I've done projects all over the world, built in the last 30 years, for completely different individuals. Each one is inserted in a time, in a locality. Understanding the local landscape is essential. This is the basis of sustainability. It is essencial studying and understanding the peculiarities of climate, sunlight and flora, researching how the ancient peoples empirically solved these questions and bring all these answers to our work. Each project has its own particularity. Brazil and the world are so diverse that they do not fit into a single style. My work has one eye to the environment and the other to the past. Above architects, we shall be humanists. We shall take care of the individual, of the human scale. Our architecture must serve humankind, not the other way round. I believe that this ethical simplicity overrides styles, epochs, overlapping time.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Brazil, between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the two cities where my offices are located. Designing in Brazil is as it should be anywhere in the world, means to know profoundly its history, its culture, its people and its architecture. We are a quite diverse country and we have a very rich architecture history. My work is influenced by the indigenous architecture, portuguese colonial architecture and mainly by the modernist movement. Brazilian modernism was internationally prominent, making our architecture known in all continents. Living in these tropics brings us the domain of the exuberant nature and complex climate that is essential to designing an adapted architecture. However, our ability to design is beyond the possibility of building. Despite the technical knowledge developed in wood and concrete constructions, our workforce is still very expensive and rudimentary; and building industry usually is short of quality. In addition, like in any developing country, bureaucracy contaminates the business environment.
How do you work with companies?
We work both for individuals and for companies. Large groups of Education, Gastronomy, Hotel chains are among our clients.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
I think the most correct when selecting an architect or a designer is to hire a competition. I always suggest that the contractor determine a fee and offer to competing designers so that at least the expenses are covered. It happens a lot in Brazil, companies asking a draft study for products, projects or campaigns for several design studios that develop a extensive and expensive job, unpaid, and often lose the competition for the lowest price, not for the best work. Design should not be hired for the best price, but for the best work. I suggest companies choose the best work and negotiate with the studio for a fair fee, but not making lots of professionals work without being paid.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
My role as the studio main partner is mainly prospecting new clients and developing architectural draft studies. All the creative kick-off is up to me. From then on our architects teams take over. I continue to attend clients along with these teams and I am always available to solve design and construction problems. All stages of an architectural project are performed by the studio. Concept studies, executive project, detailing, construction follow-up, compatibility of technical complementary projects, decoration, furniture design. My creative process is quite interesting. Experience brings me the possibility of designing head first. When visiting a site, for example, we already have a clear vision of what would be the best project. And this project keeps being developed in details in my mind under various situations... in bed, on the beach, on daily walks, anywhere. I keep thinking of it all the times. When I sit down to draw it effectively, it is already completed in my mind. Matureness also brings us the certainty that the magical touch inspiration is not primordial, and if it does not come, when we sit on the drawing board to project, something good will come out of it!
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
A Saarinen Table, a Tolomeo desk lamp, An Eames Lounge Chair, a George Nakashima bench and a Taschen Art book.
Can you describe a day in your life?
I wake up early, around 7 am. From 7 to 9, I sit at my home office to draw, to project. At 9 am I go to the studio, and from then on the day is unpredictable! Problems to solve, meetings to attend, new clients to meet, visits to the construction sites, assistance to suppliers. It is rare for me to have free time to create in my office the daily schedule. About 7 pm or 8 pm, I go home to have dinner with wife and kids. After dinner I usually watch some TV series or some movies. It is relevant to remember that architects work 24 hours a day 7/7! Even in our leisure time we are thinking about work and our cell phone shall be available at all times. And any lunch, dinner or social event is time to prospect new clients!
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
The important thing in architecture is to impact positively the collective. Nature shall always be protagonist. More important than designing a house is designing a home. A home is architecture with soul. Redeeming time is the goal of residential architecture. Time to read, listen to music. Time for tea. Time to contemplate the horizon. Time to be simple. Times we do not have anymore. Architecture has the function of educating the eye. The best project will always be the simplest. Good architecture should be the main pillar of the real estate market.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Positives: It's a passionate and charming career We truly love what we do The creative industry will survive the changes in the labor market We do not need an office routine. Creativity can come in any environment. In a certain way, we can set our own working hours Negative: We are certainly under paid Very less skilled and creative professionals are much better paid. It is very hard to charge clients for an idea that does not exist yet. When we are being contracted, we are negotiating ideas, not products. It is so difficult to charge well for then... We can not wait for clients to pass by, we have to chase for them We are the main actors in a the real estate business and often the rendering and model guys or the broker are much better paid!
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I don't. A certain mental chaos is important to my creativity. For me, the routine is not important. Sometimes I need to make room on the agenda for creative leisure.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
My architecture projects take different times to be designed. A restaurant, for example, can be designed in three months. A house in six. A hotel or a school can take up to a year of project time. Design time depends on the full area to be projected and on its complexity.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
"Why charge so much for these sketches? I don't understand taking so much time just to do those sketches..."
What was your most important job experience?
One of my most important experience in large-scale projects was participating on the international competition for the Rio 2016 Olympic Park Masterplan. We won the second prize, among other 50 competitors, losing the first prize to the English AECON office. I was concerned to receive the Olympic Games and not participate, as a brazilian architect, in any way. As soon as the competition was announced, with only 2 months to deliver the projects, I decided to set up an international team with the capacity to develop it. I joined our office MPG, with the carioca CDC and invited the americans Gensler and SWA. We took almost 30 days just to assemble the team and collaborators and the other 30 days I was interned in California developing the project. I am very proud to recognize that most of the solutions came out from the brazilian architects involved and also pround to know that we have lost because of only one vote. We discovered later that the result was 4 to 3, being ours the three Olympic votes and the four remaining votes, received by our competitor, came from the representatives of the city of Rio. That means, I have no doubt or modesty to say, that our Olympic project was better than theirs, but AECON's legacy project was far better than ours. The most curious are the enormous similarities of both masterplans and pretty much the same layout of the venues between the two projects. Worth checking it out.
Who are some of your clients?
Most clients are private. Among then, young people from the financial market, TV and movie stars, businessmen. Among the corporate clients, I can mention the bank BTG Pactual, Eleva Educational Group, Lemann Foundation, The Best Fork gastronomic company, Fasano hotel group, the city of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil's top chefs, such as Felipe Bronze, Danio Braga, Claude Troigross, Laurent Suaudeau, Morena Leite, Rogerio Fasano, Marcelo Torres, many of them Michelin stars.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I have no doubt in saying that my favorite kind of projects is residential architecture! We design all types of residences. Apartments, penthouses, urban houses, country houses, beach houses. Maybe this is the typology of design that we show greater ease and mastery. The one that is most comfortable for me. I don't feel that we are specialized in residences, although these are a majority in our portfolio. We also have several projects of residential and commercial buildings, numerous restaurants and shops, some hotels, schools, museums, sports arenas, parks and urban projects. However I have no doubt that the best residential architecture in the world is Brazilian. From the drawing boards of Brazilian colleagues, such as Thiago Bernardes, Paulo Jacobsen, Arthur Casas, Marcio Kogan, Isay Weinfeld and FGMF come the most beautiful and innovative houses since the 1960's. There is only one moment of such quality that was the Californian modernist residential architecture from the 1940's to 1960's, signed by masters Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Charles and Ray Eames among many others.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
To continue working daily with the same passion and devotion to this lovely craft. I intend to dedicate myself with the same energy from the beginning of my career to the our most exciting project: the next one!
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
We surely work as a team. My studio has about 25 associate architects. This young and devoted team is divided between the headquarters of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Important to mention my main collaborators. Adriana Moura, associated since 2003, but my colleague for almost 30 years, runs the interior design department; Renata Duhá, associate in 2006, today is the CEO of MPG; and Natália Lopes, associated for six years, is the coordinator of architecture department and my right-hand collaborator.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Currently we have about 40 ongoing projects. They are houses from north to south of Brazil. Mainly in São Paulo and Rio, urban and interior, and in the states of Minas Gerais, Bahia and Maranhão. However, the most interesting projects being developed in the office now are the Hotel Joá, with 40 bungalows in the middle of the urban forest of Rio de Janeiro and a Beach Resort in Una-Bahia with 100 bungalows and 40 villas. We are also developing two residential buildings on the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon. In addition we are projecting the great gastronomic market of Rio de Janeiro, the "Mercado do Rio", in the main tourist area of the city. Still waiting for the funding, we have the project of the Theater of Jockey ready for construction. It is a contemporary opera house with capacity for 1350 spectators. We are also planning the Masterplan of the Caiçaras Club in Rio and Paulista Equestrian Society in São Paulo. And we will launch nest month my the first project as an architect and entrepreneur, together with the also architect Sergio Conde Caldas. The Opy.Ará, a condominium of luxury houses, with approximately 400 square meters each around the Botanical Garden in Rio de Janeiro.
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
It is a pleasure and an honor to participate in the A'Design Award Competition, having won with three projects. I feel that the Award and the publicity will be very important for my international career. I have almost thirty years of professional experience, most of them running important architectural studios, and I feel that we are ready to work in any country in different design typologies. I have a lot to thank you all for your attention. Feel free to contact me by the above email and number, anytime.

Extended Interview with Miguel Pinto Guimarães

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I started as a trainee very early, still in high school. I was 15 then. I was pretty sure to become an architect. During childhood I was used to draw cities, boats, houses. It was natural for me to pursue these after school hours internships. I worked for a year with a very known architect in Brazil, and after that I went as a trainee into the office of Claudio Bernardes, one of the most important brazilian architectural firms. I was 16 then. From there, I entered in UFRJ (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) to study architecture and urbanism. Already in the first year of college I started doing some interior projects, first the bedrooms of friends and a little beach house for two brothers in the land of their parents. That was in 1993. I continue designing for clients, parallel to the internship. In 1994 I decided to go out and open my own studio.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
My passion for the arts in general. That's what I've always done, since I was little, to draw. It was my hobby, my greatest fun. I didn't surf, I didn't play ball. I drew. From Friday to Sunday, until dawn. It was natural for me to become a designer.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
It was entirely my decision. My father even tried to push me into business. I was always a very good student so, I also entered the University of Economics, which I carried out together with architecture for a year. Then my calling spoke louder.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
Architecture. All types of buildings. We present in our portfolio, houses, apartments, penthouses, commercial and residential buildings, art galleries, museums, restaurants, schools, hotels, squares and urban parks, sports arenas. For the future we have focused on larger scale architecture and urban projects.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
Participate in competitions, architecture contests. It brings a lot of experience in different types of project, in argumentation and sales tools. It was something that I started to do very late and I regret it. As I began working very young, I quickly became quite known in the residential project market. We had a small size studio, with lots of clients and a lot of work. At the same time, my classmates were entering major competitions in architecture and urbanism, which made me quite jealous! I had professional success, made some money, but I lost the most romantic part of the profession! It was only after I getting older, with an established studio, that I could afford to devote some of my time to research, contests and competitions. However, I never lost contact with the academy. I kept close relationship with my teachers, master's students, I always participated in lectures and examining boards. Keeping contact with the academy is another valuable tip.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
Devotion. Knowledge. Values that are possible to achieve. The secret of success is 80% dedication and 20% inspiration.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
Mostly simplicity. Really good design should solve questions without show off, without unnecessary ornaments, without pretension.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Architecture brings beauty and joy to people's lives. It organizes spaces, flows, energies. No doubt it improves your daily, your relationships. Good architecture brings optimism!
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
It's not even a matter of time, it's a matter of money. The ideal world would be to work only for those who give us pleasure! And I'm fortunate to have pleasure with the vast majority of my clients. Unfortunately we have to work for those who bring us also problems. But the secret is to draw always to yourself! We must put ourselves in the client's shoes, understand their demands, their desires and their limitations. When working with these variables of the equation, the acceptance of the project will be mostly positive!
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
My own house! It is being built! But, unfortunately, I do not have the time to dedicate myself to this project as much as I would like!
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
Always maximum dedication. Lots of study. Understant deeply the history of Architecture. Get to know the work of the contemporary architects. And last but not least: be SIMPLE!
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
There are several architects that I really admire around the world. Beginning with the visionaries Frei Otto and Sergio Bernardes, extending to the portuguese Eduardo Souto de Moura and Álvaro Siza, besides Ren Koolhas, Norman Foster, Herzog and de Meuron, Renzo Piano, Santiago Calatrava. I am fascinated by all contemporary Japanese, Toyo Ito, Shigeru Ban, Kengo Kuma. In Brazil, Claudio Bernardes has always been a reference, but I also admire the work of my contemporary colleagues Thiago Bernardes, Paulo Jacobsen, Arthur Casas, Isay Weinfeld, Marcio Kogan and FGMF.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
In architecture there are so many buildings I love that it would be impossible to name a few. So in this answer I choose to identify my favorite design products! The Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames, the Tolomeo table lamp by Michele de Lucchi ang Giancarlo Fassina, All the wood furniture made by George Nakashima, the Saarinen table by Eero Saarinen, the Panton Chair by Verner Panton, All the paper lamps for Isamu Noguchi and the Coca-Cola bottle!
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
One of my favorite projects is the Jockey Club Concert Hall, which nas never been built. It shows a deep understanding of the production of great shows, the result of many years of research and experience. It would be a very important cultural and tourist equipment for the city of Rio de Janeiro. And it was a complete operation, where I found the land, identified the demand on the market, raised the necessary funds, arranged the operator and the cutador, besides designing it. Sometimes in Brazil, being an architect is not enough. We have to be an entrepreneur.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Nowadays, we all have to take care not only with our clients, but also with the community, how general public will react to our design, even if it is a private building. How it will impact the enviroment. Sustentability of our the planet is one of the main goals. These aspects must be intrinsic to our work and become natural, no longer a something to think and to worry about.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
If I were not an architect, I would certainly be a culture worker. I would still be into the creative industry. A designer, advertiser, illustrator. Creativity is the main characteristic of my personality.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Architecture and design are the art of bringing beauty and functionality to both public and private lives. Architecture, as well as art, also has the function of educating the eye. Seeing and living the good built art will create tools that can improve people aesthetics, who will always demand, from then on, cities with better services, better quality buildings and design of excellence. It is very important to always keep in mind that architecture and design should serve humankind. We must always project with the human scale in mind.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
No doubt the excellent professionals with whom I had the honor of get together. My former bosses, my old to current partners and especially my architectural team! I had the honor of leading, throughout my 25 years career, more than 200 professionals with whom I learned all that I know, who helped to create my studio reputation and to become the professional I am.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
Luckily, I have never had any major difficulties throughout my professional life. As I started working very early, graduating might have been one. Achieving equal dedication to university life and working was a challenge. At the same time, entering the labor market so young, but with great experience, is often cause for prejudgement. I always thank all my clients who bet on me from the beginning.
How do you think designers should present their work?
Nowadays electronic mock-ups represent practically the reality. Models, AR, 3D prints are already present. Clients, especially young, are no longer formatted to understand projects, floor plans, drawings. Only reality prototypes. This is an industry in which we have to adhere to and invest heavily.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
We are projecting the greatest gastronomic market of Rio de Janeiro, the "Mercado do Rio" on the new docks district, maybe the main touristic area of the city, next to both "Museu do Amanhã" and "Museu de Arte do Rio". It is inspired by most of the european Markets, such as Mercado da Ribeira in Lisbon, Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, Markthal in Rotterdam. It will host forty of the best food labels
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
Have received three A'Award prizes. Two gold and one silver. It is an honor to have our work laureated internationally by such an important award.
What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
They always expect a increasingly work of excellence. As in the beginning of my career I became known for my work in residential architecture, all kinds of clients of my studio, from such diverse areas as gastronomic industry, hotel chains, educational complexes and others, they all seek all the qualities of a good home. It is always necessary to stamp an atmosphere of comfort, well-being, ambiance in any scale of architecture. My contractors want their clients to feel at home being at a hotel, a restaurant or an art gallery.
How does design help create a better society?
Architecture is the art of bringing beauty and functionality to both public and private spaces. Cities are living organisms and both urbanism and architecture act as remedies, as surgical interventions that heal various tissues, organs, and reorganize circulations and energies. Architecture also has the function of educating the eye. Only living with the good built art will create tools that improve to the aesthetics of the citizen, who will always demand a city with better services, better quality buildings and design of excellence. It is very important to always keep in mind that architecture should privilege the individual. We must always design with the domain of the human scale.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
Currently we have about 40 ongoing projects. They are houses from north to south of Brazil. Mainly in São Paulo and Rio, urban and interior, and in the states of Minas Gerais, Bahia and Maranhão. However, the most interesting projects being developed in the office now are the Hotel Joá, with 40 bungalows in the middle of the urban forest of Rio de Janeiro and a Beach Resort in Una-Bahia with 100 bungalows and 40 villas. We are also developing two residential buildings on the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon. In addition we are projecting the great gastronomic market of Rio de Janeiro, the "Mercado do Rio", in the main tourist area of the city. We are also planning the Masterplan of the Caiçaras Club in Rio and Paulista Equestrian Society in São Paulo. And we will launch next month my the first project as an architect and entrepreneur, together with Sergio Conde Caldas, also an architect. The Opy.Ará, a condominium of luxury houses, with approximately 400 square meters each around the Botanical Garden in Rio de Janeiro.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
The new resort that we just designed in Bahia, on the north coast of Brazil. It is a complex completely integrated in nature, covered by sand and native vegetation. It is our manifesto of non-architecture that we are implementing in some recent projects. It is our intention to make architecture disappear in the landscape. It is our option for discretion and not for spectacle. It is also a gesture of generosity with nature. The project is made of two main buildings, 100 bungalows splitted on the sea waterfront, at the edge of the lagoon and in the river banks that all over the land and also in the middle of the forest. The project also contains 40 villas with 3 to 5 bedrooms for sale.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
Especially in Brazil, the architect's profession is extremely depreciated. In the interior design or decoration for example, the clients often pay more for a sofa than for the the whole architecture project. The real state market also does not give the proper value to the architect. In most of the cases, It pays more for brokers, 3d images, for the models, for the marketing agency, than for the author of the project. It is total nonsense, an inversion of values. This has being changed very slowly. Today, some companies already understand the difference of a good project that only are a good architect can provide. Not long ago, we were just contracted to endorse a real estate bad product. We designed just the façade, common areas or so, bringing some dignity to the bad projects. Today, many times, we project full real state developments. From its conception to interiors. It's a brutal difference in quality when it happens. In order to this to change quickly, it is necessary to improve that eye education I was talking about in previous answers. It is important that clients understand which is a good architecture and which is bad, and reject the second one. Only when consumers change, the real state market will adapt.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
We have to keep an eye on the new ways of designing and presenting the projects. AR and 3D printing will completely change architecture and design production. Prefab buildings in architecture also deserve our attention. They will change industry.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
My architecture projects take different times to be designed. A restaurant, for example, can be designed in three months. A house in six. A hotel or a school can take up to a year or more of project time. Design time depends on the full area to be projected and on its complexity.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
In architecture, from the site itself. When visiting a site, for example, we already have a clear vision of what would be the best project. And this project is developed in details in your mind in the following days. When we sit down to draw, it is completely ready on my head. Except when it is not! So when inspiration doesn't come, it's time for hard work!
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
Design sets the trends. When design is good, it goes over it. Good design is immune to tendencies and survives the passage of time.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Technology always moves faster than art. Our role is to overtake her in this race. Technology should serve architecture and not architecture be slave to technology.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
I always start with paper and pencil. I am quite old-fashioned. When my sketch is passed to my team of architects, we work on VectorWorks, AutoCAD e ArchiCAD (BIM), Sketchup and 3DMax.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
I am not a colorfull architect. We work mainly in white, shades of gray, beiges, sometimes dark blues and greens. We love the color that come from the natural materials. All the pale oranges and browns from wood, greys and beiges from stones. However we are frankly opened to several greens and colors from the garden plants and flowers, blues from sky and sea, hot palette from sunrises and sunsets. Man made spaces must be neutral to be invaded by the powerful colors from Nature.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
Our biggest goal is to make people feel the architecture. I want to reach peoples senses. The architecture must propose answers not questions.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
I feel joy! It's exciting to see novelties and beauty in architecture and design. I am also very proud when colleagues sign new and innovative buildings.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I do believe in co-design! I had a major partner for more than ten years and the co-creation was a reality. What happens is that, as in many times the project is elaborated in our mind in different places and not necessarily in the office, the main idea always comes from one of the creators. Others are responsible for elaborating, improving, and criticizing it. According to the operation of my studio, I am responsible for the conceptual sketch and my team proceeds the project from there on. There so I consider our architects co-authors of my projects.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
My former boss, Claudio Bernardes and his son, my partner for more than a decade, Thiago Bernardes. I worked with Thiago for three years as trainees and other 12 as a partner in two different studios. We never separated professionally. We work together sporadically, We compete in some projects and we visit ourselves frequently. More than an admirable colleague, he is a friend to life. We learned our craft together. We took our the first steps together in the tricky world of architecture. We have always been complementary in our different personalities and that fact has both enriched our work and led to our scission. I often miss his partnership and critical eye that forced me to abandon a project path that I knew was bad and in which I would waste precious time. Of course our architecture has many similarities. We had the same master, his father, Claudio Bernardes.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino; Pillars of The Earth, by Ken Follet; The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand; Flicts, by Ziraldo; Oh! The Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss (This one does not affects my design, but guide my and my kids lives)
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
Watching and observing everything and everyone around. I have a very powerful visual memory. All the visual information, being architecture, design, theater, cinema, visual arts and many others, feed my repertoire and my creativity.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th. Dalai Lama George-Eugène Haussmann William Shakespeare Walt Disney Le Corbusier Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Walter Gropius Antoni Gaudi Richard Neutra Richard Wagner
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
Humility is essential for a creator. Awards, recognition, none of this matters. The architecture is long-lived, but it is finite. One day it will be destroyed. One day a new building will be built upon your project. And this is welcome. What will make me infinite and immortal are the friendships and relationships I've made through architecture.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Color: Gray; Place: Inside Nature; Food: Pizza; Season: Autumn; Thing: Coca-Cola; Brand: Taschen
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
I wrote earlier that I spent my childhood drawing cities, boats, houses. I still have kept an immense amount of drawings realized from 9 to 14 years. Looking at them nowadays, I recognize a high architectural quality. Some of them are framed in the living room of my house. At the same time, my wife is a great contemporary art collector. We have many important art pieces and we usually promote dinners for international artists, curators, and collectors. In one of these meetings, Pablo de la Barra, an important curator of the Guggenheim, said that among all of our art works, the ones that he would love to have at the museum's collection are my own childhood drawings.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
There is no doubt that the best sensation of our profession is to have a project approved by the client without any alteration, after a presentation. That really makes my day!
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Answered on 1st. and 48th. questions. I was sure I was going to be an architect. I always drew a lot, and with great talent. I still keep some drawings of that time. They were cities, boats, houses and they all show a high architectural quality.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
The way the political leaders and the population manage the natural resources and the planet, there will be no future. The future of the world is definitely compromised. Design has a special role in solving this. About the future of architecture, I always joke that the target of all architects should be design beautiful ruins. The architecture is finite!
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
One tip for all is never abandon the child that exists within us. Joviality is essential for the longevity of our architecture. The architect should never grow old. Must pass right from childhood to eternity.

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