São Paulo: South America’s New York City

Sao Paulo is the pulsating heart of Brazil’s economy

Unique Hotel and Sao Paulo skyline

Just a 45-minute flight from Rio, Sao Paulo is a fast-paced, cosmopolitan megalopolis and Brazil’s most sophisticated city, cultural center with a lively music and arts scene, mecca of consumption. In Sao Paulo you can find the world’s largest FERRARI reseller – the second one is located in Los Angeles, California; the world’s 4th largest MASERATTI reseller; the world’s 2nd largest PORSCHE reseller, as well as the 2nd LAMBORGHINI reseller. Sao Paulo is the only city in Latin America with ROLLS ROYCE and BENTLEY resellers. Also, in Sao Paulo you can find the world’s largest agricultural planes fleet, the world’s largest private jets fleet – it was NYC until two years ago -, the world’s largest private helicopters fleet, the only city in the world with 4 TIFFANY’s stores, the only city in the world with 4 BULGARI’s stores, the world’s most profitable LOUIS VITTON store, and the most profitable MONT BLANC store outside Switzerland.

Don’t let Sao Paulo’s tarnished image fool you. Rumors of billowing smog, traffic gridlock and rampant crime are patently untrue. This chaotic metropolis has a crime rate that is barely a third of Rio’s, and at 457 years old, it has a history unrivaled in Brazil. During the last decade Sao Paulo has transformed into the pulsating heart of Brazil’s booming economy. Exciting, daunting, and crackling with life 24/7, São Paulo is South America’s New York City. It’s got it all: awesome food, fashion, culture, art and nightlife. Global designer brands compete with hip Brazilian labels, and the posh clubs and restaurants are crammed with people so beautiful, they’d be confined to a magazine cover in any other country. Here you can eat dazzling dishes prepared by celebrity chefs that draw on the city’s international influences at nearly any hour of the day or night. Sao Paulo is constantly evolving, remaking itself as the city of the architectural-landmark hotel. Defined by uber wealth and unparalleled design, hotels hidden within the sprawling, concrete high-rise metropolis like the Unique and the Emilliano offer distinct accommodations with world-class hospitality.

Hotel Unique

It’s safe to say that the Hotel Unique lives up to its name. 50 Cent, Lady Ga Ga and President Lula da Silva himself are among guests to have slumbered in this bizarre building, which looks like a cross between a giant melon wedge and Noah’s Ark. The acclaimed Brazilian designer Ruy Ohtake claimed that he intended it to look like neither upon its completion five years ago, creating a luxury dwelling both unique in shape and style. The 100m-long by 25m-high inverted arch, with its 95 rooms, has become one of the most distinctive landmarks in Sao Paulo. A model in modern architecture and creativity, Unique’s green copper façade alone makes this hotel live up to its name. Located in the heart of Jardins, the most upscale residential neighborhood in Sao Paulo, and just minutes from Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo’s largest verdant space, the building rises like a behemoth.

Shielding shadowy glass and a desert garden of moon rock, palms and succulents are the first impressions that the hotel offers. Theatrical lofty internal spaces such as the lobby are accentuated and highlighted with walls of marble, and strident, geometric themes make the display even more impressive. A carefully choreographed continuum of circles and squares flow in and out of each other, softened by wooden floors, sleek white furnishings and transparent glass fittings. The design encompasses six floors with over 90 rooms and an additional 10 suites designed by interior designer Joao Armentano. The formation of the large circular windows offers stunning views of Sao Paulo.

The imposing vast reception area is rendered warmer by the complimentary glass of champagne offered at check in. A-list beauties clad in Prada compromise the affable staff. Rooms are compact, yet airy, and almost completely white, with a large porthole window over which a wooden screen would glide at night via remote control from the bedside. Attention has been paid to detail, with both the pine desk and large movable mirror. The bathroom contains a shower with a huge head, and the bath, complete with inflatable pink pillow filled with glowing green feathers (not as tacky as it sounds), also turns into a powerful Jacuzzi.

The bathrooms open into the main room and turndown service includes freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, and there is a discreet box filled with condoms and chewing gum next to the bed—how convenient.

The best views are from the oblong red-tiled, heated swimming rooftop pool. It buzzes at night with catwalk queens and handsome power brokers, and during the day, a dip here gives you an astonishing 360-degree panorama of the city’s skyscrapers all jutting up through the clouds. Even on a cloudy night, there is a sunset glow, with the terrace artfully illuminated by pink floodlights.

The Skye restaurant located up here is overseen by chef Emmanuel Bassoleil, who has won awards for its innovative menu, which includes a huge sushi and sashimi collection plus interesting Latin fusion twists, such as manioc gnocchi and shrimp in winter squash. It does, however, all come at prices about what you would expect to pay for such quality in London or New York.

The hotel is also home to the awesome D-Edge nightclub, recently voted one of the worlds best by DJ magazine for its low-attitude, high-party atmosphere and bass blasting sound system.

Standard rooms start at US$333 per night and go upwards to around $932 a night; all excluding breakfast.

Hotel Unique, Avenida Brigadero Luís Antônio, São Paulo, Brazil (+55 11 3055 4700)

Standing lanky and unadulterated on the poshest street in Sao Paulo, Oscar Freire Street, the 57-room Emiliano hotel, also in the Jardins, is a quiet alternative to the Unique’s brassy vibe. Designed by Brazilian architect Arthur de Mattos Casas, this slick tower’s exterior is all glass and beige tones, topped with a discreet helipad for those who can’t deal with traffic. Diplomats, prime ministers, and Hollywood queens love to duck in and out of this pied-a-tierre. Inside, the modern sophistication is first evident in the airy lobby. Campana brothers’ chairs draped in golden rope surround a ‘living wall’ of plant species from the Brazilian rainforest. A balanced blend of business and vacation travelers will savor the cool, calm ambiance, and the staff is stunning and eager to please. Detail orientation and modern Brazilian sophistication is what best defines the Emiliano Hotel. From the clean lines and muted lighting of the champagne and caviar bar to the Emiliano bar’s hanging orchids and loungy tables, the lower level makes you feel comfy and secure. And quite private.

There are only three rooms on each of the floors. Guest rooms awash in eastern-inspired textures feature huge flat-screen televisions, digital surround sound CD/DVD players, and free high-speed Internet. The setting is relaxing and indulgent: crisp white Egyptian cotton sheets; Brazilian fruit-infused toiletries; an Eames lounge chair upholstered in an earth tones; a wall of amber-colored wood that hide closets and two Sub-Zero drawer refrigerators stocked to the hilt; not to mention a huge bathroom with a startling views. The guest services manager will instruct guests on using the numerous lighting controls (which took a Ph.D. to master), and a personal butler—yes, you get one—offers to unpack bags and help navigate the sci-fi Japanese toilets (that do everything you can imagine and more!). The staff also spoils you with a free bottle of fine wine; succulent indigenous fruit, a heavenly massage (in your room or at the rooftop spa) and the ironing of two items of clothing. All on the house. A favorite indulgence: a pillow selection menu, where you can choose from six pillows of varying firmness.

The Emiliano Restaurant is quite hidden away from city views. Favored by Brazilian celebs for its sequestered setting, there are only eleven elegant tables, stylishly set with white tablecloths. Tropical music plays delicately in the background. Chef José Barattino favors contemporary Italian cuisine at Emiliano. Born and raised in the Greater São Paulo, the young chef spotlights organic ingredients and actively supports small producers through a partnership with Família , a consortium of sustainable food producing farms in São Paulo State. The veluttata, served with goat cheese semifreddo and black olive breadcrumbs, melts in your mouth and is part of the chef’s four-course tasting menu (R$150, R$300 with wine pairing), which also comes with tagliattelle with prawns, guandu beans and red pepper; duck leg confit with small crusty onions, orange flower honey sauce, yellow manioc baked in a salt crust and fresh spinach; and canolo with Macaé and Ginaduja chocolate, mango and Bali flake salt.

There may not be a pool in the penthouse, but the spa Casal does have two Japanese hot tubs, a Jacuzzi and sauna with a panoramic view. A stay here is surely going to result in a heavenly and cherished memory – just don’t forget to take your Platinum card. Rue Oscar Freire 384 (+55 11 3068 4399)

EAT
CARLOTA
This Brazilian bistro is the place to be seen for lunch. A revamped 1940s house splashed with audacious, local art and bold Brazilian gastrononym, the menu here lashes together Italian and Brazilian traditions with a generous helping of Argentinian and a dash of Asian. Chef Carla Pernambuco’s multicultural kitchen floats the finest ingredients in her comfort food with atypical results, like her medley of Brazilian snacks such as salt-cod rissois (a turnover), pão de queijo (a hot cheese roll). The succulent sole filet with golden goat’s cheese sauce, fresh palm hearts and mushroom fettuccine is to die for. Another notable dish is grilled lobster tail, manioc purée and Thai vegetable julienne. Save room for the classic Brazilian dessert, Romeo and Juliet, a luscious guava souflé in a queijo catupiry (Brazilian cream cheese) sauce. Rua Sergipe, 753 . Sao Paulo, 01243-001

DALVA A DITO
Impeccable design. Great location. It’s by the same team who opened DOM, one of the snobbiest places to eat in Sao Paulo. Here, Chef Alain Poletto takes city street food and makes it a little more highbrow. It’s a beguiling blend of the simple and subtle. Street snacks that have been reworked, the pasteis (fried snacks) like bolinhos de mandioca and carne seca (fried balls of mandioca and dry meat) are heavenly and probably healthier (and much more pricey) than the ones you find on every corner. Moqueca is a behemoth of a fish stew in a thick stone pot, brought to your table and then filled with heavy fishy broth. And the rotisserie chicken literally melts in your mouth—and it should, for R$65! For dessert, try chocolate fused with a rare Amazonian herb priprioca, a woody, spicy tone usually used in perfumes. Rua Padre João Manuel, 1115 – Cerqueira César . Sao Paulo, 01411-001

MARIA BRIGADEIRO
Brigadeiro is a dessert that only exists in Brazil. It’s a national institution, like soccer, samba and caipirinhas. Small, round and sweet, these decadent balls of chocolate explode in your mouth. Sweet, creamy and sticky, this ball of chocolate looks like a truffle. Since she was six years old, chocolatier Maria Brigadeiro has sold her collection of delectable handmade chocolates in this sumptuously elegant shop. Watch the portly ladies roll them through the pink accented display cases like those found in jewelry shops. Marvel at the trays of chocolate gems beautifully molded into balls of perfection. You can choose everything from orange blossom to rose water and dried plums. Favorite choice: pistachio and cacao! Delicious beyond belief. Rua Capote Valente 68
Pinheiros
São Paulo | Orders: +55-11-3085-3687

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Brazilian designer Sergio Rodrigues shop-in-shop at Espasso, New York

Pictured here is the ‘Vronka’ armchair, 1962


A new line of Rodrigues re-editions previously only available in Brazil are now also on offer at Espasso. The Poltorna Mole, 1957, seen here in the foreground, frames the Luminária Sérgio Augusto, 1965; Banco Mocho, 1954; Poltrona Vronka, 1962; and Poltrona Beto, 1958

[ See more at Wallpaper Magazine / November 2011 ]

Espasso New York

Specialized in modern and contemporary Brazilian furniture

38 N. Moore Street
New York, NY 10013

Phone | 212.219.0017

Hours | Mon – Fri: 10am – 6pm  . Sat: 12 – 6pm . Sun: closed

Jose Padilha on the ‘Robocop’ Remake and ‘Elite Squad 2

The hot “new” director talks about his take on Robocop, its social commentary and the future of the Brazilian film industry

Brazilian director Jose Padilha’s smash sequel Elite Squad: The Enemy Within played at Fantastic Fest. The cop drama expands on Padilha’s themes of corruption in Rio. Padilha’s coming to Hollywood to direct another cop movie, the remake of RobocopElite Squad: The Enemy Within opens November 11 in New York and November 18 in Los Angeles for a platform release, and Padilha is already prepping Robocop.

 

CraveOnline | By Fred Topel : As an American action movie fan, I’ve obviously seen a lot of movies about corruption. Is this the first time you’ve been able to explore that in your country?

Jose Padilha: I’ve done three movies about violence in Rio. I’ve done a documentary called Bus 174 which is about a street kid that hijacks a bus in Rio. I don’t know if you’ve seen that. Then I’ve done the first Elite Squad and now this is the third movie I do about sort of the same subject matter, that’s related to corruption. So I guess I am an old timer filmmaker that deals with corruption.

But I mean is it relatively new for the Brazilian film industry to address it?

Brazil has a peculiar kind of history in filmmaking because we were a dictatorship. That means we were run by generals until the ‘80s. It was a right wing dictatorship so most filmmakers, if not all, were Marxists in the same way where people who were controlled by the left wing dictatorship in Czechoslovakia were capitalists. You always oppose the regime. So filmmaking in Brazil was made from a Marxist perspective. It was full of metaphors to avoid censorship. We had censorship. We had to send our movies to generals, they would look at it and they would cut stuff out of the film. So everything was very difficult for regular people to grasp. It was all sort of like an inside joke between filmmakers that understood some sort of metaphor that would get through the censorship. But Brazilian movies are changing now. Because there’s no more censorship, we don’t have a dictatorship, we can vote so we’ve been able to say things directly. I think this started in a big way with City of God, which is a social commentary on violence by drug dealers and it’s not metaphorical at all. It’s a film that you go, it has action and so on. Myself and other filmmakers now are doing movies like this so I would say it started like 10 years ago. So you’re right, there’s a difference in Brazilian filmmaking now.

What is your philosophy on shooting action?

Well, most people don’t realize a lot of the way you shoot action is defined by the schedule. You can’t miss a day because it’s very expensive. There are a lot of things that have to do with the budget and my movies don’t have an American budget. They have a small budget so I have to do things fast. My philosophy is to go for it, to try to get the risky shots, to try to get the shot that you may not get in one day because it’s worth it. So I like my connecting shots, which is let’s say I’m shooting a scene of a helicopter with the protagonist overseeing the invasion of his land. I want to have the same shots, the face of the guy inside the helicopter, he’s looking down at something, and the camera goes and sees just the moment where a bomb explodes in his lap. In order to get that shot, you have to time the camera, the helicopter, the camera has to go to the right place, the explosion has to set off. It’s hard. It’s much easier to shoot in separation. You have the face, you’ve got the helicopter. I try to go for the connecting shot because I think it brings action to life. It also gives you a better sense of geography which I think is important in action scenes. So that’s my philosophy. Go for the connecting shot and run the risk of not making it through the day. Read more

 

 

A Hip Street in Sao Paulo

Clubs with live music have woken up Rua Augusta, where rich and poor mingle and party into the morning hours. But you probably won’t find samba here.

Teenagers in black jeans and hoodies sit sipping vodka on the sidewalk. At a venue down a few blocks of graffiti-covered walls, a man in a shark costume belts out rock songs. Outside a dance club, well-paid fashion designers mingle with street punks and transvestite prostitutes.

It’s far from the tropical sun, sex and samba image of Brazil that looms large in the mind of tourists.

Rapid change is gripping Brazil, especially Sao Paulo, the largest city in South America and the most expensive in the Western Hemisphere. A red-hot economy fueled by commodities trade with China and decades of stable government have made many Brazilians more prosperous. New youth movements have sprung from Sao Paulo’s gritty urban mix. Read more … [ Source : Los Angeles Times ]

São Paulo, The Creative City

Nice video about São Paulo way of  life

The beautiful city of São Paulo, Brazil is the latest feature in the Wallpaper* ‘City Shorts’ short film series. The film talks about the city as a source of inspiration for its creative people. Some of the individuals featured in the film include architect Letícia Nobell, designers Fernando and Humberto Campana and architects Triptyque.

Directed by filmmaker Marcelo Galvão, the São Paulo edition of the Wallpaper* ‘City Shorts’ will have you yearning for a Brazilian vacation.

Brazilian Waves in Global Music

When Carmen Miranda first set foot in New York City for her Broadway debut in 1939, Americans experienced love-at-first-sight with Brazilian culture. The profound fascination of Americans with Samba, Bossa Nova, Brazilian-Jazz and Brazilectro has been the subject of many compilations, but now for the first time, the story is being told in detail by its main players in the documentary “Beyond Ipanema – America’s Love Affair with Brazilian Music”.

Featuring interviews, new performances and classic archival footage, the film will revisit milestones such as Carmen Miranda’s Hollywood heyday, the obsession with the Girl from Ipanema, the timeless Bossa Nova recordings by Frank Sinatra, the commercial success of Sergio Mendes, Caetano Veloso’s acclaimed American performances, the rediscovery of Tropicália and Os Mutantes by college kids, the current seduction of Bebel Gilberto, and much more. The history of America’s love affair with Brazilian music, in the words of musicians, producers, and journalists. From Bossa Nova to Favela Funk, from Carmen Miranda to Bebel Gilberto, Gilberto, the story of music that changed the world is about to be told by the ones that lived it. ‘Beyond Ipanema: Brazilian Waves in Global Music’ is a Guto Barra and Becó Dranoff film, Written and produced by Guto Barra and Becó Dranoff. Directed by Guto Barra.


The coolest store ever

Isay Weinfeld designed the first Havaianas Store in the swanky São Paulo City, Brazil, with a cool, casual, comfortable style, just like the brand.

The store has an informal atmosphere, totally open to the street, almost as an extension of the sidewalk, without door or windows, with plenty of natural light and green.

At street level there is only a small sitting area and a mezzanine that looks over the entire store. The level below that occupies the double height space, is defined by independent elements: a stand recalls the origin of the sandals, which were sold in city markets; a container display the “export” models, which have not been seen in Brazil; a transparent cylinder shows the new products; and a cube exhibit the history of Havaianas. There is also a space to “personalize” your sandals.

Photos by Nelson Kon

In the back of the store, in a semi-high level, there is a small garden for exclusive use by those working in the store. The lower level houses the offices and warehouse.

Espaço Havaianas

Rua Oscar Freire, 1116, Jardins – São Paulo, SP, Brazil . Tel +55 11 3079-3415

Monday to Saturday – 10am to 8pm