The 155-square-meter apartment is laid out as a L-shape, with the living room at one end looking out over a green courtyard, and the bedroom at the other end; the kitchen and bathroom sit in between. There are no walls separating the living spaces—a free-standing white latticed volume acts as a divider, and conceals both the kitchen cabinetry and the modest bathroom. The architect was inspired by the Brazilian state of Bahia, where José grew up; and in particular by elements of Bahia beach houses. ‘Dendê Duratex House’ “expresses in every detail the architect’s special bond with his homeland in a sober way: rich in art, bossa, and poetry,” explains the firm. This expression is seen through examples such as the dark wood panelling that reference Bahia’s Jacaranda trees, and the contrasting “linen color” of the walls that relate to the “light and simple style of Bahia beach houses.”
A perforated skylight allows fresh air to circulate through the residence; particularly useful given the warm climate of the city. The interior features a number of furniture pieces by various Brazilian designers, including a hanging fireplace by Construflama, a modernist chair by Lina Bo Bardi, and a jagged coffee table made of white stone by Montblanc Marmores. The word Dendê, in the title of the project, references a fruit that is commonly used in northeast Brazilian cuisine.