It’s a penthouse/pied-a-terre for a world traveller- business man and art collector in the Brazilian town of São Paulo. The Alameda Lorena duplex is located in 20th floor of a luxurious building in the heart of the Jardins, one the most desirable neighbourhoods of the city. The architecture was designed by Utopus Studio’s founder, architect and designer Javier A. Robles.

The penthouse was transformed by Javier Robles, with lighting by Lumifer, into a lofty duplex home for a single expatriate moving to São Paulo. An avid art collector and traveller, the client can now showcase large pieces of contemporary art and travel ‘finds’ throughout the apartment, creating his own version of a tropical home in the sky. It is a remarkable example of architecture and interior design – a rendering of the ‘grand gesture’, creating space while making a statement.

The overall effect is of robustness, featuring metal and concrete. The total of 420 m2 plus 100 m2 outdoor living space was completely gutted and reconfigured to a new layout. The insertion of concrete stairs in the middle of the space allowed the vertical integration of both levels and brought dramatic natural light into the lower level core. A large metal L-shaped canopy anchors the main living room. The drapery has been fitted to go round at an angle, embracing part of the large sitting area and creating a dramatic effect. Bedrooms and service area are strategically hidden in the rear part of the apartment so the client can entertain large groups of friends. The upper floor is surrounded by the outdoor deck, pool, spa and garden. The L-shaped terrace borders the bar and TV room; indoor and outdoor zones inter- connects seamlessly, and from any given point, one can see the concrete skyline of São Paulo. In total the penthouse consists of a living room, dining room, library, kitchen and pantry with services areas, as well as media room, bar, barbeque, spa, gym, deck, pool and terraces.

With offices in NYC, Miami, London and São Paulo, Utopus is a remarkable studio. It has created a very wide range of projects, from cultural buildings, residential projects and luxury interiors to product design, bespoke light fixtures and contemporary furniture pieces. Key to the firm’s creative strategy is the international design team with diverse professional experience in architecture, planning, furniture, lighting, exhibition, product and interior design. From its origins in Peru and Brazil, the studio was conceived as a nomadic office. The location of a brief does not form a boundary, but a starting point to explore new cultural connections and opportunities for insights which are translated into architecture, interiors and custom pieces. This passion for exploration has led Utopus to set up offices in London, São Paulo and New York City.

Javier Robles, the founder and principal of the practice, began this creative journey in his native city of Trujillo (Peru) after graduating from the University of São Paulo. The studio grew quickly and completed many residential projects before being commissioned by the National Institute of Culture to design a visitor center for the archaeological site of Chan Chan in Peru. The next opportunity arose to collaborate on large scale projects in New York and after many years living and working in Manhattan, Javier decided to launch Utopus as a full-time practice in London in 2004. There he completed residential and commercial projects across Europe and established an international reputation. In 2006, Javier returned to practice in New York with an extensive portfolio and many international clients. He travels back and forth between Europe, the United States and Latin America coordinating with clientele on residential and commercial projects around the world.