There’s no shortage of interesting shopping streets in Vila Madalena and Pinheiros, but joining the two bohemian neighbourhoods is one that stands out from the crowd, packed with homeware shops, boutiques and art galleries that all have one thing in common: charm and soul by the bucketload.
We took a stroll along Mateus Grou’s three long blocks on a muggy Thursday afternoon and unearthed delights both old and new. A newcomer to the street, albeit not to São Paulo, is Estúdio Gloria, which opened its doors in late 2012 in its new home on Mateus Grou, following a move from its former, smaller space on Rua Girassol in Vila Madalena.
The owners, the couple Karina Vargas and André Lima, have packed every corner of the 700m2 warehouse – which was originally a bakery – with nostalgia, originality and good taste.
In the large entrance hall, stop a moment beside a shrine erected by Vargas. The hotpotch of religious paintings and sculptures mounted on a bright blue wall is one of the few things that’s not for sale.
|Shrine at Estúdio Gloria
Every space is filled with unique pieces of furniture, each restored from originals that date back to between 1910 and 1970. Head through the main room, past the so-called ‘dark room’, with its beautiful cabinet and charming mid-century tables, to the maloca (a community house typical of Amazonian tribes), set up with rustic, simple decor. In the ‘bedroom’, you’ll find the only brand new pieces in the store, all designed by Vargas for the bathroom and bedroom.
Estúdio Gloria’s real surprise, however, is its crowning glory – ‘Café Bahia’, a living room that opens out onto the garden, presided over by a beautiful image of the Afro-Brazilian deity Iemanjá. Like the shrine, nothing is for sale in this space. But before long you’ll be able to sit in here and soak up the homely vibe with a cup of coffee and something sweet – Vargas plans to turn the space into a café.
A few paces up the road from Estúdio Gloria, on the corner of Mateus Grou and Rua Cardeal Arcoverde, stop in at Fulana Guaçú. In early 2012, enterprising Mauro Darezzo Filho, 27, set up a tiny shop inside his father’s furniture store, which had been running for over 20 years. Darezzo has stocked the space with hand-picked trinkets and interesting objects. Reworked vintage labels on tins and pots have been notable best sellers.
|Mauro Darezzo Filho at Fulana Guaçú
A few doors down, look in at the small, cheery Galeria Moura Marsiaj, a recently-opened art gallery, before making a pit stop at the small, leafy Praça Mateus Grou or for a bite of lunch (on Saturdays) at cevicheria Suri.
Head under the bridge, over which buses thunder up the commercial street Rua Teodoro Sampaio, and stick your head in the door at the curious Galeria nuVEM. Another small gallery, you can’t miss this one for the brightly coloured plastic sculptures visible through the glass-fronted façade.
If you’re in luck, the resident artist might just be there: Sang Won Sung, a Korean artist based in São Paulo for the past 20 years, owns the space and is also the creator of most of the works on display, many of which he fashions out of plastic toys. Other Korean artists like Agnes Hong also have their work on display at nuVEM. Check out Hong’s bronze sculptures and the Brazilian Marcelo Lopes’s ultra-precise watercolours, featuring detailed scenes of daily life in São Paulo.
Towards the end of the street, near Rua dos Pinheiros, is another newcomer – Prado, which opened in 2012. The designer Bruna Prado’s oversized necklaces became such a hit that she opened a shop – an ultra feminine boutique that also sells clothes by the label ‘3, rue de la paix’. Prado’s necklaces are still the star of the show, though, filling an entire wall of the store.
Estúdio Gloria is at Rua Mateus Grou 576 (3097 9970/ estudiogloria.com.br). Read more on Estúdio Gloria
Fulana Guaçú is at Rua Mateus Grou 645 (3628 5516/ fulanaguacu.com.br). Read more on Fulana Guaçú
Galeria Moura Marsiaj is at Rua Mateus Grou 618 (3031 1061/ mouramarsiaj.com.br)
Galeria nuVEM is at Rua Mateus Grou 355 (3061 1237/ galerianuvem.com.br). Read more on Galeria nuVEM
Prado is at Rua Mateus Grou 266 (2337 9026/ pradoaccessories.com.br)
Praça Mateus Grou
Rua Mateus Grou 510
The diminutive square has a covered wooden table that’s ideal for parking up with a sandwich while you watch the mums and babies, as well as local suits, going about their business.
Rua Mateus Grou 448 (3034 1763/ suri.com.br)
This sunny, green-fronted cevicheria does delicious bowls of ceviche, from the clásico with corvina (white fish), onion, and lime, to the chifa, with prawn, squid and fish. Read more on Suri