A Marble Chopping Block Door Opens Up to Reveal a Sophisticated Brazilian Apartment

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By Michele Koh Morollo
The front door of this São Paulo apartment is a wooden board once used to cut slabs of marble.

In São Paulo’s upscale Jardins neighborhood, an art-loving couple with a young child hired Pascali Semerdjian Architects to transform their 4,155-square-foot, three-bedroom apartment into a unique home with plenty of style. 

Sarkis Semerdjian, one of the studio’s two founders, says that the firm has its DNA in haute couture. "We like to design everything exclusively for our projects to optimize space. Many of the furniture pieces—such as the living room sofa and side table, dinner countertop, bar, and lunch room sofa—were designed by us to ensure that they are the best fit for the project," says Semerdjian. 

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Pascali Semerdjian designed the sofa and bookcase, while Sergio Rodrigues designed the armchairs.

Pascali Semerdjian designed the sofa and bookcase, while Sergio Rodrigues designed the armchairs.

Artwork by Bruno Dunley.

Artwork by Bruno Dunley.

A bookcase by Pascali Semerdjian.

A bookcase by Pascali Semerdjian.

Pascali Semerdjian designed this copper tray that extends from a wooden wall feature.

Pascali Semerdjian designed this copper tray that extends from a wooden wall feature.

Pascali Semerdjian Architects used rustic "peroba do campo" wood for much of the flooring. The architects used concrete to emphasize the living room floor, which is lower than the rest of the apartment. This creates the impression that this part of the house is "detached from the wood floor."

The dining area features Cappellini stools and Hans Wegner dining chairs.

The dining area features Cappellini stools and Hans Wegner dining chairs.

A Bertjan Pot pendant lamp hangs above the dining table.

A Bertjan Pot pendant lamp hangs above the dining table.

The dining area features marble countertops designed by Pascali Sermerdjian.

The dining area features marble countertops designed by Pascali Sermerdjian.

Pascali Semerdjian Architects introduced a variety of copper elements near the entrance door, on the library shelves, and in the bathroom. The boldness and glamour of this metal strikes contrast with the otherwise earthy and cozy interior.

This dining nook features an Oscar Tusquets table and Peroba do Camp flooring by Oscar Ono.

This dining nook features an Oscar Tusquets table and Peroba do Camp flooring by Oscar Ono.

One of the home's most arresting features is its entrance door, which is made from a dense wooden board that was once used as a chopping block for marble slabs.

The home's entrance door is richly textured from its past life as a marble chopping block.

The home's entrance door is richly textured from its past life as a marble chopping block.

The board was placed beneath marble sheets while they were cut, and the pressure lines of the blade are "recorded" on the wood. 

The master bedroom features a Pedro Useche coat rack and an Eames chair.

The master bedroom features a Pedro Useche coat rack and an Eames chair.

Di Marmore marble floors and walls clad the master bathroom.

Di Marmore marble floors and walls clad the master bathroom.

"We saw this beautiful irregular pattern in this wood board during a visit to choose marble sheets, and we imagined it could become a beautiful and unique door. So we bought it from the marble supplier, then cleaned and polished it. Hundreds of wood boards like that go to the trash after they are all cut. We were probably the first people to see beauty in something that’s under every architect's nose," says Semerdjian. 

A green guest bathroom with a vanity designed by Pascali Semerjdian and wood panels by Plancus.

A green guest bathroom with a vanity designed by Pascali Semerjdian and wood panels by Plancus.

A Di Marmore stone countertop in the child's bathroom.

A Di Marmore stone countertop in the child's bathroom.

Floor plan of Apartment VLP

Floor plan of Apartment VLP

Project Credits: 

Architecture and Sound Engineering: Pascali Semerdjian Architects / @pascalisemerdjian 

Builder, Civil and Structural Engineering: LAER Engenharia 

Lighting Design: Lampe 

Metalwork: DIX Arte e Metal

Woodwork: Plancus 

Photography: Ricardo Basetti