Natura’s Showroom Santo André
Location: Santo André, SP – Brasil
Type of Construction: Comercial
Site area: 300 m²
Building area: 250 m²
Project Beginning: 2009
Construction completion: 2010
Epigram e FGFM – Forte, Gimenes e Marcondes Ferraz Arquitetos
Authors: Marcelo Bicudo, Daniel Lifschitz (Epigram) Fernando Forte, Lourenço Gimenes, Rodrigo Marcondes Ferraz (FGMF)
Coordinators: Tatiana Machado (Epigram), Ana Paula Barbosa
Contributors: Juliana Nohara, Paola Bianchi
Interns: Flavio Faggion, Alexandre Martins, Mariana Levi, Ricardo Nucci, Naya Adam
Photographer: Fran Parente
Constructor: BR Construções
Foundation and Structural Engineering: Oppea Engenharia
Electrical and Plumbing Installation: Pex Projetos Elétricos, LFB
Landscape Designer: Studio Ilex
Lighting design: Castilha Iluminação
Consulting: Pro Active/2DKS, Ricardo Dessen, Rafael Brandão e Otec
Suppliers: LFB Engenharia Térmica, Mão Colorida
When we first began the Natura’s Showroom Santo André project, we came from a previous experience of designing five Natura’s Showroom in São Paulo (Rua Vergueiro, Av. Santo Amaro, Itaquera, Osasco and Guarulhos). These places are dedicated to the sales force of the biggest comestic company in Brazil, which has approximately one million direct sales consultants.
With a 20% growth on the number of consultants since 2009, the company’s intention is to create a place that enables the direct interaction with these people. Places where monthly reunions occur for new products release, with a busy schedule of trainings and speeches for the consultants, besides being always open to general public. As it is not a showroom or store (the products are not commercialized in theses spaces), these buildings were denominated Natura Houses; the idea is that here the consultants may be sheltered, they may feel at home. These houses are an initiative aiming to instruct and motivate the consultants, who will have the opportunity to try and test the products that they would usually sell only through catalog. Besides, one of the Natura brand’s fundaments is to encourage the relation between people. More than an auditory and showroom, the concept is to create a pleasant space that people may visit, where they can gather and share experience willingly.
Due to Natura’s interest to implement Houses all over Brazil, we suggested the company’s commercial innovation team an alternative strategy: to build smaller and prefab Houses, in a way to optimize the project, keep construction expenses under control and accelerate implementation. This would also be a better way to fulfill, through a certified project, the arguments of environmental responsibility required by the client. Illustrating this possibility, we introduced Natura to the project developed by FGMF for the finals of the international competition Living Steel in 2008, where we proposed a metallic construction with high environmental performance, with flexibility to adapt at all seasons.
These concepts constituted the Santo André project, conceived and built as pilot to future replicas. As an industrialized object, after the prototype construction an analysis on the House’s whole design, construction and operation process will be made in order to adjust its program to the usual detailment before building any new unit.
This frame may as well be installed in different ways at different lots: it can be mirrored if convenient to visibility or access, its front part can be inverted if the lot is too large or if it is placed on a corner lot, etc. Fundamentally, the function of this frame is to articulate other elements of the set, creating a heterogeneous object, which defines constructed areas with diverse qualities, both external and internal.
In order to attend the requisition for speed of construction and control of process, the work was idealized to be obsessively dry (very rare in Brazil’s construction scenario), all set, reducing the chance of errors and need for remakes. The concern about reducing waste, using recycled or recyclable material is also plainly fulfilled by this option.
There are other environmental strategies that must be mentioned: From the caution on the implementation of the House, avoiding negative impact on neighbors and offering a generous garden to the city, to the choice for certified material with easy maintenance, the building is filled with interesting solutions. Most of them were thought while still on project, present since the first strokes, such as the concern for natural light, sunlight control and the hight permeability of the terrain. Or else, the opening system which permits crossed ventilation on days when air coditioning is not essential. Or, still an example, the option for material that reduce future maintenance, such as painted alumimnium external coating, which demands only washing, and external floor made with recycled material. The matter is extended to the manegement of water and energy; hygro-thermal, acoustic, visual and olfative comfort; garden manegement and else.
Accondingly to the requirement that the house is adjustable to different regions of Brazil, kits of elements were conceived, which may be attached to the House’s structure as needed due to insolation and ventilation variations of each terrain. Different kinds of brise-soleil, arbors and frames that may compose a singular performance and aspect design for each location. These kits also take in account typical material and the disponibility of local industry, in a way to also build a cultural connection and to stablish more organic relation with each scenario.