Iguatemi Plaza Project

Carbondale recently transformed the 3,000 square meter 4-storey high Main Plaza into luxurious volume lined in travertine stone, naturally illuminated by a structurally avant-garde sculptural skylight, and punctuated by a lush pixelized stepping central garden.

Iguatemi Plaza Project Brazil

Iguatemi Plaza Project Sao Paulo Brazil
The new 3.000 square meter Iguatemi Plaza with atrium skylight and garden is the latest project in São Paulo by an Architect Eric Carlson, founder of CARBONDALE. Shopping centers in Sao Paulo are unique places globally where visitors often spend the whole day with places to shop, dine, exercise, and see movies in security and out of the heat. The Iguatemi Shopping Center is not only considered the most luxurious shopping environment in Brazil but has also become an urban icon dear to the "Paulistas" for the last 50 years.

The owners of Iguatemi, the Jereissati family, chose CARBONDALE to renovate and expand the public spaces because of Eric Carlson's expertise in Luxury Design developed over more than 20 years and their ability to transform projects into remarkable urban landmarks.

Concept Sketch
The Iguatemi, Shopping Centre Roof is an Architectural Sculpture / State of art Structural Technology / Environmental Advanced.

Design Team
Design Architect: CARBONDALE Paris
Local Architect: CARBONDALE Brazil
Skylight Structural Engineers: T/E/S/S atelier d'ingénierie, Paris & CIA de Projetos, San Paulo
Lighting Specialists: Franck Franjou, Paris & Mingrone Iluminação San Paulo
Thermal Engineers: Setec, Paris
Landscape Architects: Thalweg Paysage, Paris & Hanazaki, San Paulo

Iguatemi Plaza Project Skylight Sections

The Skylight

The new sculptural skylight crowns the Main plaza volume has the rare combination of structural innovative and striking beauty. The new skylight design creates a majestic open Main Plaza volume by removing the large existing intermediate columns for free span of 31-meters by 35-meters. The avant-garde structure, possible only in the digital age, was developed by CARBONDALE in collaboration with the internationally acclaimed engineers T/E/S/S atelier d'ingénierie in Paris and CIA de Projetos in Sao Paulo. The skylight is composed of three basic parts; 1) a horizontal glass roof held up by 2) thin vertical compression struts that are then supported by 3) a curved structural steel grid or mesh. The structural mesh, inspired by Iguatemi's traditional diamond grid pattern, separates from the glass roof by curving downward at the center to create a sumptuous inverted catenary dome that appropriately define the spatially proportions of the Main Plaza volume.

Iguatemi Plaza
Iguatemi Plaza - Before & After

The suspended steel structure finely clad in matt white aluminum panels and trimmed in polished brass also acts as a large light baffle reflecting sunlight into the space and animating the surrounding travertine walls with diagonal shadows that change throughout the day and the seasons.

One invisible but significant accomplishment in the design of the Main Plaza and skylight is the creation of an environment-sensitive space that maintains a comfortable atmosphere with natural climatic ventilation. With the increase of natural light comes heat, but by working with advanced computer thermal models, the design balances the filtered sunlight, insulates with double thermal glazing, and ventilates with natural airflows, no need for air conditioning in a tropical climate country is a huge environmental achievement.

Iguatemi Plaza Brazil

A Restaurant in the Garden

Nestled within the vegetal oasis and encompassed in sunlight, Eric's unique design for Piselli, conceived as a "Restaurant in the Garden". To enhance the outdoor atmosphere further, a green ring of foliage that embraces the entire space, covered dining terrace extends out into the garden and a discrete garden path leads guests to an exclusive entry.

Iguatemi Plaza Restaurant

In collaboration with the Parisian and Brazilian Landscape Architects Thomas Eschapasse & Alex Hanazaki, the creation of a pixelated central garden is composed of 170 stepping square planters lined in cumaru wood. The cascade of vegetal pixels follows visitors along the circulation ramps to join the two main shopping levels. The garden design is conceived to be seen both from the surroundings and experienced from within. The unique modular planters integrate a flexibility allowing the garden pixels to be raised or lower to adapt to the various events that occur throughout the year.

The Envelope
The challenge of designing a "restaurant without walls" was answered by creating a magical veil of suspended floor-to-ceiling strands composed of polished gold plated solid brass bars that vertically wrap the periphery of the 6-meter high restaurant. These ethereal chards of reflected light appear as luminous golden threads that define the restaurants volume and the establishments' luxurious identity as an elegant Architectural treasure chest. For guests the open façade allows for views towards the garden and invites the natural ventilation and sunlight to permeate the dining areas.

Iguatemi Plaza PISELLI Final Day

The Spatial Identity
The restaurant's interior is spatially delimited by a raised cumaru wood parquet flooring and above by a floating monumental box ceiling finished in a high polished lacquer smoked cedar wood paneling. The large wood surfaces establish the warm, rich interior ambiance while the dramatic highly reflective ceiling beautifully reflects the adjacent vegetation and flowers adding to the illusive and ephemeral enchantment. Rather than a restaurant defined by its walls, CARBONDALE's bold approach introduces a sculptural collage of orthogonally composed floating wood frames that create intimacy by subdividing the large volume, define the central bar and decidedly establish the distinctive character and identity of the Piselli. The frames are filled with a delicate brass mesh and are edge-lit to create a wash of warm light within the space and enhance the cozy evening atmosphere.

Iguatemi Plaza Restaurant in The Garden

The Furniture
To create intimate and cozy dining areas, CARBONDALE has divided the spacious restaurant volume into different seating areas including the lounge, the bar, the dining room, the intimate booths each providing different dining experiences. The character of each area is accentuated further by a wide variety of furniture types in solid woods and leathers including an extra-7-meter long beige leather sofa that snuggles into the garden.

Iguatemi Plaza The Furniture

"In CARBONDALE, our unique expertise comes from our ability to define a design strategy based on identifying and understanding a multitude of issues such as socio-cultural, climatic, urban constraints, shopping traditions, neighborhood dynamics, transportation methods in combination with an in-depth understanding of the brand itself. For the Iguatemi project, we have pushed the technical limits to create a covered outdoor plaza with a sophisticated free span tensile skylight structure which maximizes day-lighting, and naturally ventilated within a majestically sculpted structure emblematic for Iguatemi and the city"– Eric Carlson.