Casa Bonfim is the result of a long dialogue with the clients, a couple from Bordeaux in France. They have lived in a great variety of countries, especially on the Asian continent, and developed a strong interest for other cultures through traveling extensively. With a great passion for manufactured works of art, they collected handmade pieces of furniture and asked us to integrate them into the rehabilitation project.
The original building was erected at the end of the XIXth century by a wealthy tradesman. In the first half of the XXth century, the bourgeois building was acquired by Santa Casa da Misericórdia and became the private residence of a member of the organization. It underwent a profound refurbishment as well as an extension to the backyard. On this occasion, a plaster ceiling figurative bas-relief was created according to specific themes such as religion and agriculture. We took the opportunity of this rehabilitation to reintegrate some part of the damaged plaster art work, reintroducing the missing boy with fire.
The clients determined the kitchen as the starting point of the project and therefore dedicated to Portuguese culture. Next to the main window was projected an handmade tiled panel composed of azulejo, representing a fishing scene, of the same dimensions of this opening. We developed a difference in height level of the ceiling to let indirect light illuminate and enhance the mural. The excellent Portuguese craftsmanship tradition permitted to create long-lasting wood furniture entirely custom-made and at a competitive price. Those pieces of furniture (cabinet, wardrobe, bookshelf, etc), made of mahogany wood, are present in nearly every room.
Many of their acquisitions were incorporated to complement the project and now appear in an unexpected way. As for example, the staircase walls feature two XIXth century panels bought in China representing geometric motifs and a traditional wushu fighter. In the library, the panel is sliding on a rail, maintaining privacy from the common area or letting more natural light in from the staircase's skylight on top of the reading table.
Located on the upper floor, the master bedroom is drenched in natural light and opens onto the garden. Some distinctive noble materials were used to bring elegance and refinement to this space. Thus was designed a table in white marble also covering part of the wall above. This element is used by the owner to read, make up and other activities. A triangle wall lighting completes the marble table.
Designer: Alessandro Pepe
Studied Architecture at DAD Politecnico di Torino (Italy) concluding his training with Luigi Snozzi in Monte Carasso (Switzerland). He has worked with Balkrishna Doshi in Ahmedabad (India) and Álvaro Leite Siza Vieira in Porto (Portugal) before opening his own practice.
He is a member of both the Northern Portugal Architects Association (OASRN) and Italian Architects Association of Turin (OAT).
His work has been recognized by several national and international publishing organizations such as Público, Archdaily, Anteprojectos, Divisare, Plataforma Arquitectura, Espaço de Arquitectura, Archello and Dezeen within others.
Agency: Alessandro Pepe Arquitecto
Architecture and spirit aren’t concrete entities, but ideal concepts: architecture is to building as spirit is to living.
Human beings formulated these concepts for the pursuit of emancipation from the transience of life. We human beings yearn for absoluteness since our science doesn’t give us absolute answers.
Architecture has materiality and a spirit.
Alessandro Pepe Arquitecto is located in Porto, Portugal. Our work is constituted by 70% of residential projects. 50% of our commissions include the restoration of existing buildings. Our influences mostly originate from historical European architecture (prominently from Italy that is the place where we started our activity) and contemporary architecture, mostly from Portugal.