Designed to host a premium chocolate brand, Dengo Chocolates Concept Store is a milestone in sustainability, efficiency and innovation for the Brazilian architecture and construction industry, located at Avenida Faria Lima, in São Paulo. Apart from the concrete underground foundations, the 4-story building was entirely structured in wood.
The retail occupies an 800 m² plot with 1,500 m² of building area. The volumetry is composed of hollow wooden cubes that both bring verticalization and convey the idea of permeability through strategic subtractions on the facade. Wood surfaces and vegetation contribute to a feeling of comfort and liveliness, while also rescue Dengo's core values: producing in harmony with the environment. Transparencies and openings, as well as earthy tones, natural lighting and ventilation accentuate these characteristics.
The architecture sought to recreate a chocolate factory in an attractive and didactic way so it could highlight Dengo's differential: controlling every stage of the production process (also known as the “bean to bar” process). This includes the production of cocoa beans (chocolate in its purest form) in sustainable farms from southern Bahia, as well as the making of the chocolate bar. To ensure this care, the project envisaged the installation of original restored machinery from the 1940s on the ground floor to show the chocolate refining in loco. The mill is supplied by nibs that arrive through transparent ducts and pass through a central atrium, to create an enchanting mood and enrich the public's imagination.
On the first floor, at Meu Dengo station, customers can watch while personalized items are exlusively and instantly made for them. Ground, first and second floors offer tables and benches to accommodate visitors, as well as a cafe, ice cream shop and bar. The rooftop can be enjoyed as a viewpoint of the city.
The flooring brings red ceramic "caquinhos" (broken shards), typical of São Paulo residences from the 1940s and 1950s. Besides paying homage to the city tradition and evoking an affective memory, it also refers to the famous “quebra-quebra” brand product: chocolate boards inside glass niches that are broken into as many pieces as the customer orders.
Among the materials used, CLT slabs by Amata and Glulam beams and pillars by Rewood stand out; both companies are references in the brazilian engineered wood industry. Through their work, the project bets on technology to review current construction parameters, showing how it is possible to innovate, reduce environmental damage and promote a sustainable development for our cities, without letting behind aesthetics and comfort. “The connection between companies involved around the purpose of creating profitable and correct businesses from the social and environmental point of view was fundamental for the first engineered wood building in Brazil, a milestone for the country's construction system”, says Ana Belizário, project and new business manager at Amata.
The choice for this kind of material is an important alternative in civil construction, as the
market is responsible for 39% of the total global gases emissions, including carbon dioxide
derived from the production of energy destined to the construction industry, according to
data from the UN Environment. Unlike steel and concrete, which production generates high
levels of emissions (concrete accounts for 11% of global emissions), wood is able to store
carbon throughout its useful life, removing it from the atmosphere and contributing to
coping with climate change. In addition, this model, simple, modular, and exposed, brings a construction rationalization, with less waste in construction site and faster execution, having been built in just 37 days with only 4 employees.
Applying the insights of neuroarchitecture and the biophilic design, the presence of wood in the environments increases the sensation of well-being to the users, and along with other elements that evoke nature (as vegetation, transparencies, and openings, the use of earthy tones, wide lighting, and terraces), it is possible to move away from the classic mechanized and hostile factory image; thus, each client can have an inviting, cozy, playful and educational experience in the factory.
This project allows the creation of a space where the rustic, authentic and handmade are highlighted, based on a contemporary reinterpretation of the use of natural elements and the very concept of Brazilianness. Afterall, cocoa is the main inspiration; it’s in the colors, textures, materials and even in the low-tone lighting, referring to the “cabrucas” (cocoa cultivation below the shadow of higher trees).
Since 2017, Matheus Farah e Manoel Maia Arquitetura stands out for performance and for projects that are born and developed through dialogue and active participation of all players involved in the production process, such as developers, builders, suppliers and industry. This holistic approach allows them to go beyond the limits of architecture and to formulate solutions that excel in innovation, sustainability and efficiency, with greater control of costs, construction duration and environmental care.
MFMM was responsible for the Estações Cacau Conduru project, in Ilhéus, Bahia – where Dengo's raw material is produced –, and where they first got in touch with the universe of cacao. The firm is also designing upcoming stores for Dengo. They are winners of the competition for the Clube Associação Fazenda Boa Vista, a residential and hospitality complex in Porto Feliz (SP), and they are developing 20 residential projects in high-standard condominiums in the interior of São Paulo.