Located in a famous street at the São Paulo bohemian neighborhood Vila Madalena, Guilhermina is a restaurant and rotisserie with a differentiated concept, and is the first enterprise by this group of investors.
The 5 x 25m terrain was previously occupied by a totally deteriorated building, which was demolished to give place to the new one that occupies almost the entire lot, preserving only a small front setback, composed by the entrance to the restaurant and the open waiting area next to a garden. The restaurant building may be seen as a 6m tall single volume with the same length as the lot, entirely made with cementitious coating both internally and externally.
The restaurant has two levels: The ground floor is designed for the entrance, cashier, bar, counter, the display of cold cuts, the tables’ area, bathrooms, and the display area for hot foods and fridges with frozen foods and wines in the back. The upper deck homes the kitchen and other service areas, as well as a small office. The kitchen is closed with a glass panel and may be seen from the lower level, which is a prominent element within the project. The roof slab is technical and is entirely occupied by water tanks and air conditioning, exhaustion and inlet equipment, etc.
We tried to establish a permanent contact between the building and the street. For this purpose, the three meters setback was kept and occupied by a little garden, and the façade is fully glazed. The almost six meters of glass are divided in two parts: The lower one has a sliding panel that allows the communication between the interior and exterior area. The upper one is made with a fixed glass and allows a complete view of the interior of the restaurant.
Inside the big wooden shelf draw attention; it organizes the products displayed, hides the restaurant’s storage and equipment area, homes a big sofa, and is both furniture and covering. This big element is cut from the ceiling in order to allow the entry of natural light throughout the day and the artificial light of the reflectors at night through rectangles of different sizes. On the wall irregular compartments continue the logic of “full and empty,” making the relation between architecture and furniture intrinsic. Another major item in the composition of the internal space is a long strip made with white ceramic tiles that goes from the restaurant’s entrance through the floor, the tables, the foods display balcony, to the back wall of the room where it ends, in a further attempt to subvert the separation of what is building and what is furniture.
Artworks also have room in this project. Below the window between the kitchen and the hall, the high-ceiling area is occupied by a sculpture made with wire gauze and ceramic pieces by the same ceramic artist who developed the set of cups, dishes and platters especially for the restaurant. Finally, the graffiti is present at the bathrooms doors, distinguishing the genders.
The functioning of the restaurant is very flexible. It is possible to eat in loco or buy foods and other products to eat at home. The products are displayed all over the room, which is divided equally between the clients that will stay for a short period and those who will stay longer. This flexibility was also aimed at the design, both in the slight separation between inside and outside and in the dilution of the differences between building and furniture.