Art Palácio, upcycling intervention

This project, articulated with the São Paulo’s City Culture Department, came to be one of the first cultural interventions to enter an empty government building aiming its upcycling.

In essence, the experience proposed was to make first a cultural and social approach at this abandoned historical building. By this means we could stop physical degradation and also, by talking with the public, identify its callings and demands for that space. Ideas that was collected and systematised to be handled to the government as dossier containing the public analysis and the public ideas for the building development and unfoldments. A very different method than the usual.

Building qualification:

//// Goals:

  • Qualify the space in a way to facilitate future interventions and avoid depredation;
  • Empower the public interaction with the immersive experience of the project and the building history;
  • Explore participatory ways of interaction among the project, the city hall structure, and the cultural actors throughout the process;
  • Identify possible developments for the Art Palacio, pursued their vocations, their territory and the needs of the São Paulo’s contemporary cultural scene.

//// The Intervention:
Such a project was possible by the engagement of SCREEN Festival, part of the 11 year old LOOP international platform for video and contemporary art based in Barcelona. Therefore we had two protagonists for the project, The Art Palacio building and the Hans Op de Beeck – Staging Silence peace of art. And two invited intervention groups: Nonon Cratures (that explored the city hall waste dynamics) and Lab.Experimental (that explored the art-education and relation with the public).

The partnership with Lab.Experimental group has result the Estudo Livre project (BELOW), that points out all the experience with the public and its indication for the future of Art Palácio.

About the Building:


Art Palacio is part of São Paulo’s cinema history, it was the first big theatre built at downtown during the mid 1930’s and there fore became Cinelândia Paulista’s founder stone – nickname for the area where all the big city theatres use to be.

First built for 3.7 thousand places facing only one huge screen, Art Palácio history mixes itself with the histories of São Paulo and the cinema itself. To start, the building was an investment from UFA, the biggest Germany (and perhaps European) company at the time. Its construction mixes two styles, Art Deco for the cinema and German Concretism for the hotel that stays upon it.

Two years after the opening its management goes to a brasilian film distribution company, it was the international boycott to nazism times. During the next twenty years, São Paulo bumps from 800 thousand to 3 million inhabitants, the city dimensions of space and time change drastically.

The television become a mass product, coincidently during the brasilian military intervention from 1960’s to 80’s, and Sao Paulo’s downtown start to depreciate by real state speculation elsewhere in the city. With these major aggravating issues, Cinelândia starts to fail as the more elegant and cultural enriched streets of the city and become a forgotten area with the cinemas becoming hard porno for survive economically. Art Palácio was just one of those.

After 3 years with closed, Demetrio Portugal propose this cultural intervention as director of SCREEN Festival São Paulo pre-edition 2013.


About the interventions:

Nonon Creaturas