Organic Brutalism: Haight Fashion Store in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by MNMA Studio.
Brazil-based architects MNMA Studio have completed a retail store for fashion brand Haight, and the entire project is a how-to lesson in organic brutalism. The 80sqm space is at the base of a 25-storey residential building in the beachside suburb of Leblon, Rio de Janeiro.
Faced with a challenging, irregular layout and obstructive central column, MNMA got creative. They clad the column in grey marble, turning it into a striking central feature. Then, the architects inserted a glass-encased concrete slab to create a mezzanine dressing room, reached via a sweeping set of concrete stairs. Another concrete slab covers most of the ceiling, stopping just short of the interior walls. Strip lights hidden in between the gap make the perimeter of the store appear to glow.
The design complements Haight’s minimalist aesthetic, pairing rough surfaces and raw materials with softening organic shapes and lines. Abstract indentations punctuate the rear wall, providing textural interest in the absence of obvious colour or pattern. Sculptural elements of natural stone and unpolished concrete were chosen to give the store a deliberately handmade quality.
MNMA worked in collaboration with Studio Passalacqua to develop organic, clay-based toned cement, paints, and coatings for the walls, floor, and ceiling, intended to resemble natural elements such as sand. Two slender, brass racks displaying clothes frame the space, a metallic touch amongst the monochrome earthy tones.
To unify the store’s outer façade with the interior, MNMA rebuilt the sidewalk entrance out of stone, encouraging relations between the brand and its potential customers.