Fab 40: Idea!Zarvos Properties

An apartment building with a stepped design, walls in shades of blue and large glass windows.
(Image credit: TBC)

Truly enlightened property developers are thin on the ground, so Sao Paolo's Idea!Zarvos are a welcome departure for a genre with such an unhealthy fixation on the bottom line. Describing themselves as an 'ideas agency,' Otavio Zarvos's company brings together architects and builders to create bespoke structures that are beautifully integrated into their sites and neighbourhoods.

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'We always try to place our buildings in areas with rich urban life,’ says Guilherme Fiorotto, a trained architect who heads up the company's marketing and sales operation. 'We want the residents to enjoy all the advantages of living in a big city like Sao Paulo.’

Each residential project aims to employs a different architect, with collaborators including FGMF (featured in the 2009 Architects' Directory), Grupo SP, Isay Weinfeld, Andrade Morettin and Lua and Pedro Nitsche. 'Most of our architects have never designed an apartment building before,' Fiorotto explains, 'so we give them full legislative support and let them create whatever they want, based on our brief.'

Longevity and community focus is central to the Zarvos approach. 'We want to deliver contemporary buildings that will remain in use for half a century.' Environmental issues are also central to their ethos, maximizing space and light in order to minimize dependence on aircon and artificial light.

There's also a very hands-on service that encourages homeowners to collaborate with the developers on interior design, helping create bespoke living spaces that are tailored exactly to their needs. 'Each unit is unique,' says Fiorotto. 'We usually say that our products are easy to sell but difficult for the owners to let go.'


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).