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Plataforma Mansion of many talents featured

When Micasa head honcho Houssein Jarouche heard that this listed mansion was up for grabs, the creative cogs in his brain started spinning into overdrive. Teaming up with curator Duda Porto de Souza, Jarouche and his crack team of designers set about transforming the building, newly christened Plataforma, into a multidisciplinary space with the power to breathe new life into Sao Paulo’s downtown arts scene.

Still rocking a (deliberate) look of demure dilapidation and elegant distress, the labyrinthine space has a screen printing lab on the ground floor and also a publishing house, design studio and record label operating elsewhere on the premises. Exhibitions are a regular feature too—such as Billy Names’ photographic chronicle of Andy Warhol’s former NY HQ, ‘The Silver Era at the Factory’. And with no fixed schedule or program, a deliberate divergence from more traditional galleries, spontaneity is the name of the game. So you can guarantee that this place has always got a surprise or several up its sleeve.

Cartel 011 Off the bandwagon, onto the cart(el)

Don’t try to pigeonhole this place. Part art gallery, part design store, part restaurant, part co-working space, we could go on…but basically it’s exploding with ideas and energy. From product launches to music sessions, there’s always something going on at Cartel 011. Founded in 2009 with the intention of transforming the urban environment, it’s a case of so far, so bloody brilliant.

Monumento às Bandeiras 50m historical stretch

Victor Brecheret’s 16 meter high sculpture in front of the Ibirapuera Park is a tribute to the Bandeirantes Paulistas whose explorations into unmapped territory in search of precious metals in the 17th and 18th centuries widened the then tiny borders of Brazil. The landmark was inaugurated on January 25, 1953 to help mark the 399th anniversary of the founding of São Paulo.

Come here on Sundays to watch the “Fountain Presentation” take place in front of the monument, as images and colors are projected onto the water fountain, accompanied by music.

Parque Modernista Forward thinking

When the Ukrainian architect Gregori Warchavchik designed Parque Modernista in the 1920s, he was attempting to create a new kind of building: a house that was simultaneously international and Brazilian. Because of this architectural approach, it is regarded as the country’s first modern construction—despite the fact that it bears little resemblance to the work of Warchavchik’s contemporaries in Europe.

This pioneer wrote the manifesto for modern architecture in Brazil and personally fostered its development: after the house’s inauguration in 1928, he gathered a far-reaching circle of artists and intellectuals around him by hosting exhibitions, concerts and parties at his unique house.

The recently restored Parque Modernista is still surrounded by the lush tropical garden originally designed by Warchavchik’s wife, Mina Klabin Segall. Any visit should include a stop at the Museu Lasar Segall, some blocks away on the corner of Rua Afonso Celso and Rua Berta. This second Warchavchik house—built for his artist brother-in-law—is now a small but interesting museum. Rua Berta also features a stretch of Warchavchik’s economic housing, a key element in both the history of the neighbourhood of Vila Mariana and the evolution of Brazilian architecture.

Museu do Futebol GoooOOOOOooaaal!

The Louvre may regard its Mona Lisa as unbeatable, but the Museu do Futebol (Museum of Football) can do one better: it has Pelé.

This long-awaited shrine to the sport Brazil adores with an almost religious passion finally opened its doors in 2008. It showcases more than 100 “artifacts” from Pelé’s life and career, as well as an entertaining history of local football from the São Paulo Athletic Club (founded in 1888) to the phenomenal striker Marta Vieira da Silva (winner of the Golden Ball at the 2007 Women’s World Cup). It also investigates the roots of Brazil’s intense relationship with the game in an exhibition that include clips of Ronaldinho dribbling to a samba beat and other rarely-seen moments of footie magic.

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