Caught in a web of heavily trafficked roads, flyovers and pedestrian walkways, Red Bull Station is located in the heart of the city’s downtown at an inhospitable spaghetti junction of impressive proportions. The venue, set close to the intersection between the mighty 9 de Julho and 23 de Maio avenidas, is a stunningly repurposed, previously neglected five-storey building from the 1920s that houses a recording studio, exhibitions, workshops, gigs and other events.
Perhaps the most impressive architectural aspect of the project is the recording studio on the ground floor. Self-contained and sound-proofed by thick walls, the studio is given real transparency by plate-glass windows looking straight into the recording area and into the mixing room, where an immense analogue mixing console – a 1980s behemoth, bought secondhand from a music school in London’s Islington – takes pride of place.
No less important, however, is the art being done upstairs, where an ever-changing roster of artists – each in residence in one of six individual ateliers – produce within their chosen medium (painting, sculpture, digital art, performance art and others), with their work then displayed in on-site exhibitions. The artists have access to a digital workshop and an ‘analogue workshop’, for work in ceramics and such, and are also given the chance to attend workshops and talks.
Almost all the activities here are free, from the art residencies and music programmes to the talks, workshops, gigs and exhibitions – but they’re not only free of charge, they’re also open to one and all, with almost the entire building intended to be open for free circulation.
Note: access to the venue is less than straightforward. It can be reached via the pedestrian walkway from Terminal Bandeira bus station: cross over to the far side of the bus station via the zebra crossings, passing the bus platforms, and take the stairway up to the pedestrian walkway above. Turn right, and you'll very soon see the building, to your right.
An exhibition of the works produced during the first artists' residency is due to open on 14 December 2013.