We relate to architecture on many levels. There's an urban scale, where the architectural object is seen within a context and the building assumes a civic role in the city. Then there's a closer scale, where we deal with the building as it relates to our experience of connecting to that architectural object. And then there's an even more intimate relationship with the architecture, many times subliminal and abstract, that speaks of our physical closeness when experiencing a building. All these levels of connection with the architect's design are important, but the last two are the basis of what I like to explore with my photography. Since Lina Bo Bardi had such a particular way of addressing these two scales, photographing her work has made it a very special stimulating subject for my camera.
The first project of hers I pointed my lenses at was the SESC Pompéia. There, what caught my eye was how even though the design was obviously present; it also felt that the place had always existed that way. I don't mean that because it was an existing structure; the simplicity of the design, the unpretentiousness of it, gives it a certain timelessness that is very inviting. It is a very sophisticated design yet not intimidating. The details make for a smooth bridging of the different epochs between the time it was built originally and its renovation. In capturing the different textures found there, these details help tell how Bo Bardi work is able to evade easy labels and definitions and transcend time and genre.
Both at SESC Pompéia and MASP, an interesting aspect to observe is the assimilation of her work across all layers of the population. As it is often stated, her work seamlessly blends regional, folk, cultural expressions with a sophisticated interpretation of Modernism making it her own. When visiting these two projects, what becomes evident is that the blend of pop and intellectual which is at the basis of the design concept, is also reflected in how the project is enjoyed: whether lounging at the SESC's library or exploring the antique fair under the MASP's long free span, visitors relate and enjoy the space regardless of their background and education. The design goes full circle, coming from an inclusive inspiration to reach an inclusive appreciation.
At the Casa de Vidro, experiencing the space is the main focus. From climbing into the house from underneath, to seeing through the courtyard onto the other side of the house, to the way the eyes travel from the inside through and above the trees to the outside. Transparency defining space, which makes for very interesting images, infused with a certain immateriality and interesting juxtapositions: the marble top of the dining table swirling towards the trees just outside; the blue/green tiles poetically extending the house to the garden as they reflect on the glass. Surprise awaits us at every corner, every angle.
As a photographer and an architect, I am always looking for experiences that can expand my sense of order and space, and that have an unique and original sense of narrative (even if it frequently ends up being expressed abstractly in my art). Bo Bardi's work has all these qualities, and shooting any one of her projects is always an experience that both enriches and educates.