A Comic Book Illustrator’s Quirky Live/Work Pad in Brazil

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By Michele Koh Morollo
An illustrator’s colorful, renovated apartment in Brasília features a clever partition that makes best use of the limited space.

After purchasing his very first apartment—a 430-square-foot studio in Asa Norte in his hometown of Brasília—comic book illustrator Caio Gomez reached out to local practice Semerene Arquitetura to help him transform his new property into a multifunctional dwelling where he can relax, work, and entertain friends.

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The Gomez Apartment reflects the owner’s personality and career in illustration while sparking his creativity.

The Gomez Apartment reflects the owner’s personality and career in illustration while sparking his creativity.

The owner's vintage armchairs have a bold presence in the living room.

The owner's vintage armchairs have a bold presence in the living room.

"Gomez wanted a warm home filled with emotional elements capable of expressing his personality and stimulating his creativity," says founder and architect Clarice Semerene, who turned to Gomez’s illustrations for inspiration. 

The redesigned space is influenced by the nostalgia and humor conveyed in Gomez’s comics with elements from the works of his favorite illustrators woven into the design concept.The layout was guided by the organized, yet unorthodox, framing of Gomez’s favorite cartoonist Chris Ware, whose color palette of hot and cold tones also influenced the apartment’s color scheme.

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A white tile backsplash sets the kitchen and dining apart from the concrete and wood walls in the rest of the home. 

A white tile backsplash sets the kitchen and dining apart from the concrete and wood walls in the rest of the home. 

"The shelves with green-painted interiors—a nod to the cases found in old bookshelves—house the artist’s collection of comics, vinyl records, and objects," says Semerene.

"The shelves with green-painted interiors—a nod to the cases found in old bookshelves—house the artist’s collection of comics, vinyl records, and objects," says Semerene.

The original apartment had a single, open-plan space with large windows that span an entire wall to bring in plenty of light. 

Semerene maintained the openness and brightness of the original layout, but added a gray, wooden partition to separate the social areas from the bedroom and workspace. The divider, which includes openings with green, velvet curtains for privacy, acts as a media cabinet on the bedroom side while providing a wall for hanging art on the public side.

Green curtains in the gray cabinet and partition provide privacy for the bedroom and work space.

Green curtains in the gray cabinet and partition provide privacy for the bedroom and work space.

One of the curtains opens to connect the bedroom with the living space.

One of the curtains opens to connect the bedroom with the living space.

The bedroom becomes more transparent and open with both curtains swept aside.

The bedroom becomes more transparent and open with both curtains swept aside.

The gray partition has a TV shelf on the side that faces the bed.

The gray partition has a TV shelf on the side that faces the bed.

The kitchen and dining areas were redesigned as single, flowing space with a continuous, multifunctional cabinet that turns a corner to become a bookcase above the dining bench. 

A Trienna black coffee table from Artek sits in the living room.

A Trienna black coffee table from Artek sits in the living room.

Concrete—which references the modernist architecture of Brasília and its buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the 1960s—was used for the floors and walls, and contrasts the light wood cabinetry and shelves. 

The white tiles of the kitchen are also used for the surface of the iron-frame dining table.

The white tiles of the kitchen are also used for the surface of the iron-frame dining table.

The apartment is furnished with vintage armchairs and objects from Gomez’s own collection, which sync wonderfully with Semerene’s redesign to enhance the home’s nostalgic air, and fun, laid-back atmosphere. 

Gomez apartment floor plan drawing

Gomez apartment floor plan drawing

Related Reading: A Multipurpose Bedroom Box Is This Tiny Apartment’s Genius Solution

Project Credits: 

Architecture and interior design: Clarice Semerene, and Helkem Araújo of Semerene Arquitetura / @claricesemerene