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

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

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. 

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

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