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Sig Bergamin Creates An Artistic Open-Air Retreat

Architect and decorator, Sig Bergamin is a favourite within Brazilian high society and celebrated for interiors that combine colour, pattern, and origin. The result is often joyful, sometimes unexpected, and always chic interiors.

His mantra, after all, is “mix, mix, mix.” The designer brings a flexible design to an avid art collector’s breezy modernist hideaway near São Paolo’s beach.

For Bergamin, an acquisitive collector, art is essential to his signature approach. The homes he shares with his partner, architect Murilo Lomas, in São Paulo, New York, Paris, and Miami are filled with collections ranging from midcentury Scandinavian ceramics to contemporary sculptures and paintings.

Art, after all, is an expression of the soul. And there is no better way to express personality and your own unique flair into an interior, than with art.

The couple has a particular affinity for contemporary Brazilian artists, including Vik Muniz and Beatriz Milhazes. Friends whose works grace Bergamin’s residences and those that he and Lomas create for the prominent bankers, industrialists, fashion editors, and socialites who make up their roster. “Murilo and I are always exploring and looking for art,” says Bergamin, who often recommends artists and gallerists to his clients.

That was not necessarily the case when it came to a São Paulo banking executive and avid collector who tasked Bergamin with decorating his beachfront retreat near Guarujá. A popular weekend getaway for well-heeled Paulistanos about a 90-minute drive from the city. The client already owned an extensive collection of 20th-century and contemporary art, much of it Brazilian. “The artworks had to be the protagonists of the interior,” Bergamin says, “a composition fusing architecture, decoration, and art in a spectacular beachfront setting.”

The modernist house, designed for a previous owner by noted São Paulo architect Marcio Kogan of Studio MK27, overlooks Iporanga Beach. At the heart of the house are an open living-dining room framed by lush hillsides at one end and sweeping vistas of the ocean and distant mountains. When the long glass walls on both sides are slid entirely open, the space becomes a breezy beachside terrace.

While Bergamin typically looks to boldly patterned wallpapers, fabrics, and rugs to animate his luxurious interiors, in this house he allows the tropical greenery and the cerulean surf to play that role. On the pale stone wall surrounding the main living area’s fireplace, a quartet of prismatic works by Argentine-born Op Art and Kinetic artist Julio Le Parc joins a sprawling, colourful abstraction by Luiz Áquila and a baroquely patterned canvas by Mariana Palma, both contemporary Brazilian painters.

The primary bedroom showcases six of Muniz’s archival inkjet prints, based on Henri Matisse’s cutouts and a graphic canvas by Alfredo Volpi. One of Brazil’s most important 20th-century painters, featuring his iconic abstract festival flags motif.

Throughout the home, eye-catching abstractions blend with figurative and tropical works, such as the colorful closeup of a parrot beneath the floating main staircase. “Individually, the works are beautiful,” says Bergamin, “but as an overall composition, they are extraordinary. I think a collection gains strength and beauty when we can appreciate it as a whole.”

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