In 1929 three engineers invented a hollow structural architectural brick/tile that would go on to become a common building feature in many buildings throughout Brazil. The engineers named their bricks, ‘Cobogo’ – simply incorporating the first two letters of each of their last names; CO-BO-GO.
Initially, cobogos were made of cement only. As they became popular they began to be moulded with other materials such as clay, glass, ceramics etc. These bricks or breeze blocks serve several purposes when integrated into architecture – they provide, shade, light and ventilation, while being cheap to manufacture. Apart from all the practical benefits though, they allow for so much creativity in designing the built form for architects and designers with the results often being quite wonderful.
Aesop Vila Madelena in Sao Paulo is a wonderful retail space designed by the Campana brothers, Fernando and Humberto. The building uses local materials and is a totally permeable space that glows like a lantern, full of tactile warmth and texture. The humble Cobogo brick is the of the show and is used within the structure of the building as well as the interior architecture, creating shelves and counters along with concrete tops. The porous nature of the bricks allow sunlight to flood into the space and plants spread their foliage along the outside walls. The bricks have even been used as flooring inside the store filled in with concrete. Natural Sisal fibre has been used to clad the walls for another organic background element for consistency in look and feel, but also to help with acoustics.
Aesop’s integral philosophy that well-considered design improves our lives is unmistakably adhered to here at their latest flagship store by the Campana brothers stunningly beautiful design. It’s an earthy and welcoming, utilitarian space and shows a respectful nod to local Brazilian architectural, cultural characteristics of the region in which it resides.
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