CJ Shops retail project in São Paulo fuses the physical and digital experience
São Paulo’s new CJ Shops is just what we’re into. A highly innovative, exquisitely designed retail project that matches top domestic and international luxury brands with the finest local restaurateurs
Preeminent Brazilian real estate developer JHSF has launched the eagerly awaited CJ Shops on the site of the former flagship Fasano restaurant, which operated here for more than 20 years before moving next door with the launch of the family’s first five-star boutique hotel.
Avid readers may remember that in 2010, Rogerio ‘Gero’ Fasano and JHSF owner Jose Auriemo Neto graciously made the space available to Wallpaper* for use as a temporary headquarters. From this leafy corner of the Jardins neighbourhood, we produced the Born in Brazil issue. For a few fun weeks, we worked hard and played hard, made lots of new friends and found an even deeper love for Brazilian culture, a passion that shows through on the pages of our June 2010 issue.
Flash forward to early 2021 and the long-awaited CJ Shops is a bustling new centre of gravity, despite the lingering Covid-19 pandemic. Designed by leading local architect Arthur Casas, the project embraces the pedestrian-friendly nature of the area, and its tropical elegance. ‘I was inspired by the gallerias of 1960s Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the open-air collections of intimate shops that felt like an extension of the street more than a shopping mall. There was no perimeter, no doors at the entrance, there was a fluidity to the experience. That was our goal here,’ said Casas.
A big part of the continuity between the neighbourhood’s verdant streets and the project’s interior is the abundance of natural light and dramatic Brazilian flora. A glass rooftop canopy maintains an open-air feeling while protecting patrons from the elements –- a notable improvement over the gallerias of old – and expansive green walls celebrate the region’s plant diversity. Planters, poured as part of the building’s concrete slabs, make for a seamless, organic transition between floors, as do tens of thousands of hand-finished Brazilian freijó wood slats that highlight the railing system throughout. Casas also used terrazzo flooring that matches the colour and scale of stone aggregate in Jardins’ signature sidewalks to further blur the boundary between inside and out.
While the concept for CJ Shops is rooted in Brazil’s retail past, it also looks to the future. As a first step in JHSF’s ‘phygital’ strategy the company has included the dynamic CJ Fashion Store among the many other boutiques, a showroom-style digital experience that allows guests to try on much of the clothing, shoes and jewellery offered on JHSF’s proprietary platform cjfashion.com – a wider collection of retailers spanning their various “brick and mortar” properties, including cross-town sister property Cidade Jardim Shopping – also designed by Casas. Customers can pay by mobile phone and take delivery at home or in hand.
It’s an exciting experience in both the physical and digital worlds. The mall’s roster of brands includes Balmain (its first dedicated men’s store in Brazil) and Isabel Marant and Ines de la Fressange, which both opened their first boutiques in Latin America within the complex. Fasano is back on site with stylish café Gero Panini and Selezione Fasano, which is equal parts imported Italian speciality food shop, enoteca and interiors store offering some of the luxurious trappings of the namesake hotel brand, while Hermès stands out among the major luxury players with an elaborate series of interactive video installations that intrigue both customers and pedestrians alike. It all makes us wish we were back in Brazil. §