Spring has officially sprung, and Buenos Aires is rolling out events, sights and design schemes — the stuff architecture enthusiasts’ dreams are made of. One such event, and one of the most innovative and visually lush celebrations of design and architecture in Latin America, is Casa FOA and the 31th edition is taking place right here in Palermo.
Casa FOA is a nucleus for idea generation and design. Held annually, the event brings together architects, designers (both industrial and interior in focus) along with craftsmen to reimagine and revitalize protected historic spaces in the City, all while showcasing the very best in contemporary Argentine design.
What started off as a fundraiser for the local Ophthalmological Association (Fundación Oftalmológica Argentina Jorge Malbran or FOA) has led to an annual event that has reimagined and renovated over 200,000 square meters of space, played host to over 4 million visitors and breathed new life into the buildings that make up the City’s cultural and architectural heritage — transforming architectonic relics into relevant, living places — spaces where people can congregate and get inspired.
This year’s space is Palacio Cabrera, a building that once served as a nursing home later in life, started off as a private residence. Built in 1935, the building is prototypically colonial with tiled floors, a symmetrical floor plan and restrained Spanish inspired adornment in keeping with the trend that was all the rage in 1930’s Argentina.
‘Palacio’ is a title buildings in Buenos Aires sometimes carry without credential, but Palacio Cabrera has the stateliness and square footage to back up it’s nomenclature. Each room is stylized and designed to a T, while a cohesive design theme is hard to follow, one can’t help but feel a bit like they’ve walked into a design magazine. The experience is sensory, lighting combines with design in a way that is meant to inspire. Fragrance and furnishings are layered upon each other in a way that lends itself to wandering, stopping occasionally to be present in a space that is both intentionally beautiful and gently stimulating.
Kitchen design buffs will be happy with this year’s edition, with this particular design scheme being slightly over-represented in Palacio Cabrera. Among the other notable spaces, the gastronomic heart of the project La Barra – designed by Gustavo Yankelevich and Máximo Ferraro from Modo Estudio has both interior and outdoor spaces. It’s the ideal spot to stop for a glass of wine and ruminate over what you’ve just taken in.
A particular strong point from this year’s vision is the focus paid to design pertaining to productive and office spaces. ‘Escritorio de Mujer’, an office space conceived for the ‘modern woman’ by Alejandro Uriburu stands out. The design harkens back to old Hollywood, with a combination of midcentury silhouettes, art deco accents and a brazen confidence brought in with pieces like the hot pink Marilyn Monroe portrait.
The design, as Uriburu states, “identifies with a woman who is very much an adult, who travels, with an independent and refined spirit, and who appreciates and values art and objects of quality.” Who doesn’t want to live up to that description? At the very least we can work a bit like her by taking a few aesthetic cues from the designer.
There is something undeniably beautiful about seeing these remarkable places get brought back to life. The fact that we all have the chance to get in on the action makes it all the more exciting.
The 31st edition of Casa FOA runs until December 4th.
José A. Cabrera 5653
1 PM to 9 PM Sunday through Thursday
1 PM to 11 PM Friday and Saturday
AR $150 Monday through Thursday
AR $170 Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Discounts available for students, retirees and card holders of Club La Nacion and Tarjeta 360.