Fernanda Marques designs the vast house of São José dos Campos

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Fernanda Marques designs a Brazilian house centered on her relationship with nature

Brazilian architect Fernanda Marques reveals sprawling Casa Jabuticaba in her hometown of São José dos Campos

Casa Jabuticaba takes the requisite parts of a large family home and pulls them apart to form a chain of interconnected moments around a planted garden. Designed by Fernanda Marques Architecture and located in the Brazilian city of São José dos Campos, the house was designed to center family life around nature and evolve with it over time.

Entering from the street, undulating grass leads guests to a 3.5m pivoting front door. Beyond, a relatively compact courtyard with water, small trees and low shrubs evokes the image of a wild retreat and establishes a visual relationship with the larger garden at the rear of the house.

The travertine floors at the entrance extend into the main living areas on the ground floor and on the rear terrace, helping to establish a seamless connection between the interior and exterior spaces. The chain of social spaces includes a cinema room, a living room, a formal dining room and an informal dining room which overlooks the kitchen. All of these spaces benefit from unobstructed views of the garden thanks to the full-height sliding glazing which can be neatly tucked away in hidden pockets.

Vertical cumaru wood slats line the walls and ceilings of the living spaces, adding warmth and strengthening the connection with nature – the result is a feeling of being cocooned in the hollow of a tree. The embrace of the textures of natural materials continues on the terrace, an in-between space covered but open to the elements. The furniture selection includes pieces by Gustavo Bittencourt and a Hugo França dining table made from reclaimed paqui. Bespoke pieces by Fernanda Marques are also on display, such as the roughly hewn pine coffee tables inlaid with Patagonian granite. According to Marques, the paintings are a “subtle nod to the need for conservation and reforestation, being made from a species grown to restore forests in southeastern Brazil.”

Climbing a winding corten steel and travertine staircase to the first floor, one finds the main bedrooms – each with its own bathroom. Perpendicular to the living areas on the ground floor, the bedrooms will benefit from the best of the evening sun, but discreet mechanical shutters can block the sun to limit solar gain if necessary. As with the ground floor, there is a continuous awareness of nature. The master bedroom overlooks a conservation area and the jabuticaba trees that perforate the openings in the cantilevered roof structure invite dappled light and the play of soft shadows into every room. The cumaru also reappears on the upper floor, accompanied by other tactile elements such as the facial basin carved in Brazilian marble from an Espirito Santo quarry.

Skillful control of natural materials means this family home has the potential to offer something new every year; new combinations of light and tone and new textures too, as each material takes on a unique patina. §

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