Sig Bergamin, architect and decorator, a favorite of Brazilian high society, is celebrated for interiors that combine color, pattern, and origin in joyful, sometimes unexpected, and always chic. His mantra, after all, is “mix, mix, mix.” The designer brings a flexible design to an avid art collector’s breezy modernist hideaway near São Paolo’s beach
For Bergamin, an acquisitive collector, art is essential to his signature approach. The homes he shares with his partner, architect Murilo Lomas, in São Paulo, New York, Paris, and Miami are filled with collections ranging from midcentury Scandinavian ceramics to contemporary sculptures and paintings.
The couple has a particular affinity for contemporary Brazilian artists, including Vik Muniz and Beatriz Milhazes. Friends whose works grace Bergamin’s residences and those that he and Lomas create for the prominent bankers, industrialists, fashion editors, and socialites who make up their roster. “Murilo and I are always exploring and looking for art,” says Bergamin, who often recommends artists and gallerists to his clients.
That was not necessary in the case of a São Paulo banking executive and avid collector who tasked Bergamin with decorating his beachfront retreat near Guarujá. A popular weekend getaway for well-heeled Paulistanos about a 90-minute drive from the city. The client already owned an extensive collection of 20th-century and contemporary art, much of it Brazilian. “The artworks had to be the protagonists of the interior,” Bergamin says, “a composition fusing architecture, decoration, and art in a spectacular beachfront setting.”
The modernist house, designed for a previous owner by noted São Paulo architect Marcio Kogan of Studio MK27, overlooks Iporanga Beach. At the heart of the house are an open living-dining room framed by lush hillsides at one end and sweeping vistas of the ocean and distant mountains. When the long glass walls on both sides is slid entirely open, the space becomes a breezy beachside terrace.
While Bergamin typically looks to boldly patterned wallpapers, fabrics, and rugs to animate his luxurious interiors, in this house he allows the tropical greenery and the cerulean surf to play that role. On the pale stone wall surrounding the main living area’s fireplace, a quartet of prismatic works by Argentine-born Op Art and Kinetic artist Julio Le Parc joins a sprawling, colorful abstraction by Luiz Áquila and a baroquely patterned canvas by Mariana Palma, both contemporary Brazilian painters.
The primary bedroom showcases six of Muniz’s archival inkjet prints, based on Henri Matisse’s cutouts and a graphic canvas by Alfredo Volpi. One of Brazil’s most important 20th-century painters, featuring his iconic abstract festival flags motif.
Throughout the home, eye-catching abstractions blend with figurative and tropical works, such as the colorful closeup of a parrot beneath the floating main staircase. “Individually, the works are beautiful,” says Bergamin, “but as an overall composition, they are extraordinary. I think a collection gains strength and beauty when we can appreciate it as a whole.”
Works by noted Brazilian artists populate the property’s outdoor spaces, too. Perched on the pool terrace is a reclining bronze nude by Alfredo Ceschiatti. Niemeyer also displayed several Ceschiatti busts and figures outside his own home in Rio de Janeiro, linking this casual beachside retreat to touchstones of Brazil’s modernist architectural history.
The house’s furnishings are refined but low-key, especially for Bergamin. Vintage and contemporary Brazilian designs by Sergio Rodrigues, Claudia Moreira Salles, and Swiss-born John Graz join pieces by Vladimir Kagan, Gilles Caffier, and Patrick E. Naggar.
“This mix between Brazilian and notable international designers is precisely the kind of unexpected touch I love to add to my projects,” says Bergamin. “Beauty and good taste do not have a nationality.” At this exquisite home, as inviting as it is elegant, there is an absolute abundance of both.
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