Located in the increasingly popular southern portion of São Paulo known as Parque da Cidade, the Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas is situated to overlook the Rio Pinheiros. The luxury hotel is housed within a modern and elegant 28-story tower designed by HKS in partnership with Aflalo e Gasperini Architects, with 15 floors occupied by the Hotel and 12 floors for residential units. San Francisco-based BAMO was selected to design the hotel’s interiors including the reception, lobby, lobby bar and lounge, world-class spa, pool, fitness center and 254 guestrooms and suites. EDG Design designed Neto Restaurant and ballroom and meeting spaces.
Diligent research and numerous site visits to absorb the local design philosophy and experience the city’s vibrant culture led the BAMO team down a stimulating path punctuated by notable Brazilian architects and artisans. BAMO principals Michael Booth and Anne Wilkinson took cues from Oscar Niemeyer’s bold strokes of sweeping modernism and the organic abstraction of Burle Marx when developing the vision that they describe as “bold and evocative modern, an international luxury aesthetic rendered in Brazilian materials and infused with classic Paulistano flavor.”
“We were greatly inspired by the design approach of some of the Brazilian greats, but did not want to mimic any one style specifically,” explains Booth. “Our goal was to capture the Brazilian soul, fusing relaxed modernism with artful details and sensuous materiality, creating a story that appeals to the international traveler and local design enthusiasts alike,” adds Wilkinson.
Reception & Lobby
Guests enter with dramatic reception under a dome of glowing glass orbs and trio of faceted brass and figured marble reception desks. The lobby lounge is bold and moody in black and brass with a central curvilinear bar. Planes of high-glossed Rosewood provide warmth and contrast to the titanium black granite flooring and floating concrete wall planes. Anchoring the far end, a vibrant red sculptural spiral stair pops off of a stacked stone wall.
Furnishings from contemporary designers, Jader Almeida, Gustavo Bittencourt, and Claudia Morales Salles are arranged in intimate groups around the central bar, with garden courtyard views. A Brazilian tricot drapery frames double-height windows, while curvaceous upholstered pieces mix with iconic chairs and tables produced by local artisans.
Ballroom and Meeting Venues
Ballroom and meeting spaces take cues from Burle Marx Park across the river – a historic Atlantic rain forest in the heart of Sao Paulo. The upper level ballroom and event spaces are situated like pavilions overlooking the park, with a geometric floor pattern, tropical wood panels throughout, and custom sculptural lighting fixtures.
The flexible pre-function lounge, private boardroom and ballroom are entered through a modern monumental portal. Outdoor terraces link the event spaces with views of the city that stretch across the horizon.
At Neto, the ground floor Italian destination restaurant, guests are greeted by a two-story sculptural metal façade which encloses an outdoor dining terrace. A floating mezzanine is the focal point of the interior, while the central bar features locally-inspired culinary stations like classic Italian charcuterie. An elegant two-story lattice work wall of Brazilian wood frames an integrated wine display on the far wall and the display kitchen with wood-fired oven offers a dramatic backdrop.
The expansive open floor plan is intentionally arranged with intimate spaces that flow into each other, with dramatic perspectives from the mezzanine above, setting the stage for a memorable ‘see and be seen’ experience.
With a greater population of Italian immigrants than the population of Rome, Sao Paulo boasts a unique take on Italian cuisine. At Neto, Brazil’s bright and bold ingredients are paired with classic Italian staples, creating a menu that is “Italian by heart, Brazilian by soil”. EDG celebrated this pairing into the design of the space, offering guests an elevated experience that is modern, warm, and sophisticated.
“The new restaurant merges Italian and Brazilian design with a fashionable attitude,” says EDG Design leader Jennifer Johanson, “the balance of warm natural and bold geometric patterns set the stage for quintessential Paulista night out.”
The spa is the picture of quiet modernism and polished sophistication with deep-toned Brazilian green marble and natural ipe throughout. Intricate wood and metal screens control views and light, critical to the ambiance. The pool flows visually through a glass panel connecting interior and exterior, and culminates at a curved, slate and onyx feature wall.
A palette of white and ebonized wood with hand-applied violet plaster accents corridor ceilings. Brazilian handweaver Nani Chirellato’s banana fiber wallcovering adds a refined rustic texture when contrasted against polished brass sconces and brushed hardware. Underfoot, a fluid organic carpet pattern reflects the Rio Pinheiros and the marginale expressway that flows through the heart of Sao Paulo. Located at each elevator lobby is a limited edition console, “Buffet Rock,” custom-designed by Estudio Rika for the hotel.
Guestrooms & Suites
Broad strokes, elegant details and bold proportions define the guestroom. Emphasizing transparency, a unique slatted wall separates bath and bedroom, and shared materials provide calm. Finishes are unexpected for a hotel with Brazilian granite floors at the entry and bath, Jatoba wood throughout the bedroom, and a Brazilian leather rug in place of carpet. The edited yet playful palette marries black and white patterns, contrasting wood tones, satin brass accents, and a burst of marigold at the curvaceous chaise.
Furnishings reference mid-century lines with a simplified aesthetic: meticulous details and expert execution. A custom millwork piece of ebonized wood and tinted mirror incorporates the “My Bar” and desk, accompanied by a quintessential Brazilian task chair. Abstract art enhances drama when placed above the headboard crafted from Brazilian Pau Ferro and a handwoven inlay panel.
Suites shine additional focus on local craft with highlighted designer pieces, including Ricard Fasanello’s Espera chair, furnishings by Jader Almeida and a Paulistano chair designed by architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha.
For the most important suite in the hotel, the goal was to create a showcase for Brazilian design in a clean, modern, gallery-like feel. The suite sits above the treeline, removed from the bustle of the city, so BAMO played up that feeling of openness and maximized the views and light as much as possible.
The space has an almost brutalist simplicity, clean and architectural but very luxurious. The use of travertine running throughout, Brazilian burled wood, dark-stained ipe, and a light-toned plaster form the backdrop for a design that features striking colors and iconic, modern Brazilian furnishings from renowned masters and new talents such as Jorge Zalszupin and Jader Almeida. Artwork and sculptures from Brazilian artists, including Karen de Picciotto, Jose Munhoz, Cassio Lazaro, and Arnaldo Bataglini. were key to the success of the suite.
The Master Suite is a serene retreat in contrast to the bolder living areas, with fabric upholstered walls and a soft, edited color scheme to create that effect in the bedroom. Local weaver Nani Chinellato was tapped again to create the woven silk straw and leather headboard, and the playful Esfera chair by Ricardo Fasanello adds to the cocoon-like feel.
The Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas is the first Four Seasons hotel in Brazil, developed by Iron House, a subsidiary of the historic, century-old family company Grupo Cornélio Brennand.
Setting the bar for luxury hospitality around the globe, Four Seasons has become known as a pioneer in the industry. Their model of a luxury hotel with branded residences is now present in key cities worldwide. Iron House, together with their investment partner, have recognized that the Four Seasons São Paulo is a landmark project for the city as well as the country, the first of its kind in Brazil.
“Having a presence in Brazil is essential as we explore growth opportunities across Latin America,” said J. Allen Smith, President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Brazil is not only a popular destination for luxury travelers, but Brazilian outbound travelers represent a significant number of Four Seasons guests around the world. Soon our Brazilian guests familiar with Four Seasons properties internationally will have an opportunity to experience Four Seasons at home.”
“We have been seeking the right opportunity to bring Four Seasons to Brazil and know we have a winning combination in São Paulo - a prime location and strong partners who believe in the standards of quality and the culture of Four Seasons and share our vision for success,” continued Smith.