Milan House

Marcos Acayaba – 1972

Entry: November 2019

Located in Cidade Jardim, an upmarket residential neighbourhood in central São Paulo, the Milan House is almost impossible to find, hidden as it is among dead ends, one-way streets and discreetly tasteful barriers that keep prying eyes at bay. Even the house’s modest driveway reveals little. Yet the residence is a spectacular find, a home that encapsulates the exuberant style of Brazilian modernism.

The oversized living space, set in one half of the shell, is the focus of the house. Glazed arches at each end open out onto gardens on one side and a 14m-long pool and gardens on the other. A fireplace, seating and bookshelves are built into the concrete side wall, while the room is furnished with the couple’s collection of modern and classic design.

The striking Milan House provides a fitting domestic backdrop for this formidable power couple. Marcos designed it for his sister-in-law in 1972, when he was just 28. Marlene, who was then still studying architecture at the University of São Paulo, contributed many detail designs. After the house’s completion in 1975, Marcos’ sister-in-law moved to Paris, so the couple moved out of their apartment in downtown São Paulo and have lived in the Milan House ever since. Even after 35 years, the Acayabas are still very much in love with their São Paulo home and have no plans to move. Their Milan House epitomises the utopian spirit of the Brazilian modernismo: a faith in the infallible power of form, function and materials to deliver the perfect living space.