Having lived many years in the city of Sao Paulo, I have the privilege to have numerous friends who, when I go back there to visit, they happen to treat me just like a queen. One of them is my dear friend the Brazilian architect, urbanist, interior designer and Art Curator and consultant Joao Mansur.
I met Joao almost 15 years ago on the occasion of a city Interior Designers showcase, Casa Cor similar to the Amrican Kips Bay’s Show House. At the time, I used to own a small shop of interior finishes with two partners Beto Galvez and Norea Clemente who suggested we’d participated with a room at the prestigious event. Our small space , maybe a few square meters happened to be just neighbor of Jouao’s.
Our decoration took inspiration from 19th century English Gazebos and did not require many objects, just yellow stucco and Trompe l’Oeil finishes with a beautiful Chinese Pagoda chandelier borrowed from an antique store close to our shop.
On the contrary, Jouao space ,I remember well, had an average of 15 Italian busts mostly Roman emperors in Rosso Verona and fiori di Pesco Marbles, placed in perfectly symmetrical order in a squared grey walled enhance hall. Striped silk thick draperies impeccably organized in proportional window niches , made a majestic impact enhancing, ormolu 1800 French furniture , modernist paintings and contemporary sculptures.
We worked for our small space, most of the day, lifting , gluing, displaying and painting the walls ourselves. Joao , at the contrary would pass 15 minutes, look around almost mimicking the posture of his Italian busts , and with a discrete approval leave quietly the same way he arrived. The only problem, is that he would not say hi nor bye to us.
Because I have the good habit of generally not taking things personally from people, I assumed and shared with my partners, who were not as well know as Joao, that he believed us to be our own staff. Years after this strange episode, we laughed incessantly for knowing each other much better and realizing that Joao not only is an adorable human being, with an unequalled talent, but he is also extremely shy.
For more than a decade, Joao Mansur was in the media with a circuit of stunning residence decors from Sao Paulo Brasil a la Andrew Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina’s old money, New York ‘s elite at the Plaza landmark in partnership with Interior designer Michele Safra, and creme de la creme royal’s homes in Lisbon, Portugal.
I have enjoyed taking some shots, certainly not professional photography, he has plenty of that, just to give you a sense of how comfortable I am when I am hosted in this, as Joao calls it ” Guest’s Studio”. As you will be able to notice, the place certainly feels more as a small and majestic art museum than a simple Sao Paulo Pied -a -terre.
Surrounded by Zebra Carpets, English Coromandels, smartly lacquered 18th century columns in red, Andy Warhols, and piles, piles plies of wonderful art books on black and very daringly chic blackened walled high ceilings I am in heaven and Joao has no idea I am about to post this on my magazine. It’s a surprise. Ready for a welcoming cocktails guys?
BR: Rua Groenlandia 1922bb Jardim America 01434-100 Sao Paulo / Tel +55 11 30 83 1500 / firstname.lastname@example.org
US: Michele Safra Interiors : Michele Safra 655 Park Avenue 10065 New York NY + 1 212 439 1818