Marcos Acayaba’s Exotic Masterpiece: The Milan House

Hidden in the tropical vegetation of São Paulo’s Cidade Jardim, Marcos Acayaba’s Milan House is the utmost seductive home of Brazilian modernism. Marcos originally designed the house for his sister-in-law in 1972, when he was just 28 years old. However, by the time the house was completed in 1975, she had moved to Paris allowing for Marcos and his wife Marlene to move in instead.

Like an umbrella, the 17m-wide concrete roof sweeps over the living space. Blurring the line between indoors and outdoors, it connects the interior to the lush gardens. To accommodate the contours of the site 3 half floors were built and connected by a concrete staircase. The rooms are luxuriously oversized and each and every one of them also has a view of the gardens.

Past the pool and beneath a raised lawn hides a bunker. The concrete den, tough enough to withstand a direct strike is in fact Acayaba’s studio. A birthplace for many creative ideas, it is stacked with a fine collection of Brazilian and international architecture books along with a collection of Marlene’s architectural books, herself being a celebrated architectural critic.

During 44 years, the Acayaba power couple have never fallen out of love with their home and to this day remain living there. They furnished it with the classic modernist icons, an Eames dining table, Marcel Breuer chairs, and an Eero Saarinen side table, along with paintings from Luis Paulo Baravelli and lighting designed by Marcos himself. An almost perfect representation of the original design, The Milan House has changed very little since its construction. The only alteration being in the 1980’s to remove the indoor garden as it failed to thrive without direct sunlight and attracted mosquitos.

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