Heavy metal: a raw shell envelopes an art and car collection in this São Paulo gallery

Superlimao create Sao Paulo private gallery. A street level view of a secluded area looking at a two storey building with metal enclosure.
Brazilian architecture firm Superlimão has just completed a new private gallery space for a collector's art and car treasures.
(Image credit: Maíra Acayaba)

A gallery does not have to be a white box; and this São Paolo art space by Brazilian design and architecture firm Superlimão, created together with architect Gabriela Coelho, is as far removed from the typology of the minimalist exhibition space as possible. Commissioned by a Brazilian art and car collector in an empty parking lot, this private gallery is a constellation of raw industrial spaces, in a balanced composition that promotes functionality and a standout aesthetic.

The project was designed using four shipping containers, joined together using the original steel walls and floor and enhancing them with OSB board to make sturdy gallery walls for hanging. Perforated screens and swathes of glass that offer views both out to the site's gardens and internally across different rooms and levels, create a flowing interior and an extremely flexible open-plan space. 

Uniting modern art and a large automotive collection, the brief outlined a building that would comfortably include a garage for cars, an exhibition space to host temporary shows drawing from the various items in the collections, plus an office, a smaller workshop, a gym and a kennel. 

Inside an exhibition space with a front-on view of three old cars, focussing on a old sporty red Mercedes-Benz that has been elevated to a higher level.

The project was developed by SuperLimão in partnership with the architect Gabriela Coelho.

(Image credit: Maira Acayaba)

The ground floor garage is perhaps the gallery’s most striking element; a generous, open space supported just by two pillars and housing anything from vintage cars and motorcycles to more contemporary models.  

The project's striking outdoor spaces are a distinctive part of the scheme. Spreading across various levels and encompassing terraces and gardens, nearly all of the project's roofs are accessible. ‘The floors become the ceiling, and vice-versa, creating a unique experience that would be worthy of an Escher drawing', say the architects. This gesture also ensures the space – and the use of containers – is perfectly in tune with its locale and the site specific climatic requirements of Brazil, creating a flow of air throughout that cleverly minimises the use of air conditioning systems.

A street level view of the exhibition workshop space from outside at night time. The two storey building is illuminated and looks like a modern shipping container.

The building is a balanced composition that references workshops and shipping containers.

(Image credit: Maíra Acayaba)

Inside the exhibitions space looking at a yellow (submarine style) door, a clear window with an old red sports car the other side.

The project consists of an art exhibition gallery, an office, a smaller workshop, a gym and a kennel...

(Image credit: Maíra Acayaba)

An inside park area featuring a front row of motor bikes / mopeds and a back area consisting of old sports cars including old VW cars and vans.

... as well as an extensive garage for the owner's cars.

(Image credit: Maíra Acayaba)

A garden and patio area surround a container (looking at it face on with its doors open).

Several levels of accessible roof terraces and gardens make this project merge seamlessly with the landscape.

(Image credit: Maíra Acayaba)

Inside an exhibition space within a container. The space features brown shelf units with ornaments on, along with paintings on the wall. Immediately in front of the photographer is a large brown desk with two miniature cars on top, a bell and an announcer. To the right is a large glass pain with the front bonnet edge of a sports car on show.

Inside, the stainless steel walls and floors from the containers' original structure have been restored and left visible in the space.

(Image credit: Maíra Acayaba)

The exterior corridors of the containers are supported by large green beams.

The four containers used for the construction lend the space its distinctive industrial feel.

(Image credit: Maíra Acayaba)

Inside a small room with shelf units and a side board. Looking out to an enclosed balcony covered by perforated panels with greenery in the distance.

Perforated screens and sheets of glass create an open and bright interior with plenty of views out.

(Image credit: Maíra Acayaba)


For more information visit the website of Superlimão

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).