Largo do Boticario finds a buyer

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Largo do Boticário will have a hostel with 70 rooms and coworking spaces
AccorHotels bought six houses in the Zona Sul for US$5.1 million

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June 2018

A business project – mixing the concepts of a hostel and a coliving center, with gastronomic and coworking areas and a swimming pool – will be implanted in Largo do Boticário, in Cosme Velho. The news was presented to Cariocas in June by AccorHotels, who bought the six houses in the square for US$5.1 million and will invest $7.6 million in equipment and restorations so that the place can receive the first Jo&Joe venture to be opened outside of Europe. With an opening scheduled for September 2020, the space will follow an open house concept, with a large bar open to the public. There will also be a cultural and artistic space. The hostel will consist of an area of 3,500 square meters and will have 70 rooms, of varying prices and sizes. Construction will be started in about four months.

According to Patrick Mendes, CEO of AccorHotels in South America, the hotel network decided to invest in Rio because it believes in the economic recovery of the state and the tourist potential of the cidade maravilhosa.

“The decision to give this gift to Rio shows our intention to bet on the city”, said Patrick Mendes, noting that construction begins at the end of the year.

The purchase of all the houses, explains Patrick, was a negotiation that lasted about a year.

“Since we managed to buy it all, we can restore the whole complex. And rehabilitate this place for Cariocas. It will have a bar, barber, coworking space, plus a hotel. For that, we have brought in a new brand, Jo&Joe, which follows a new concept, with multifunctional spaces”, adding that the hotel will not be the main attraction. “It will be a place of […], in which the hotel will be the consequence and not the main reason.”

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According to the architect responsible for the project, Ernani Freire, the restoration of the space will be the starting point for the revitalization of the entire Cosme Velho area.

– It’s a space that the city complained about the very poor state of conservation. It’s a very charming urban space protected from the traffic of the city. The fact that all six houses were purchased facilitates the restoration project. It’s the phenomenon of the “positive metastasis” by the Catalan architect Oriol Bohigas. I imagine other buildings in the area, such as the Casa dos Abacaxis, will benefit, too”, said the architect Ernani Freire.

The architectural project, says Ernani, will respect the characteristics of the houses and the volumetry of the buildings. The buildings will be interconnected internally, but the facades will be maintained. Additions will be made to areas not related to the buildings. The forest area will also be preserved.

Aimed at a younger audience, the undertaking will have collective dormitories for up to ten people, average rooms for up to four guests, and smaller housing for two people. The estimate is that the tourist rents a bed, in a collective room, for about $25.

A large bar in the middle of the Open House, with capacity for 300 people, will be one of the biggest attractions. It will remain open until 2AM. The new Largo do Boticário will also have swimming pools. – Source (PT)


A news report from the 1960s, and another from 2016 on the space being put up for sale

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Forgotten sambas and voices of WWII

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Over at BBC Brasil, there’s a lengthy article (in PT) on the forgotten voices and sambas of Brazilian soldiers in WWII, including a 20-minute documentary (in PT, with PT subtitles) called Os Sons Esquecidos dos Praçinhas (praça means soldier, as well as plaza). Most of the documentary, however, relates to reporting the war rather than war-related sambas, although there are some old-school styled sambas here and there.

The recordings, made by Francis Hallawell, an Anglo-gaucho war correspondent from BBC Brasil, were recovered by the network to celebrate 80 years of content production for Brazil.

Documentary shows the formation of Rio

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The documentary São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, from 2015, shows the rich 450-year history of the city of Rio de Janeiro and its profound changes, using archival footage, 3D simulations and testimonials. You can find some more info on the film here (PT).

I was able to finally see it after trying to find it for two years. The documentary is well-done, and a good watch (even if you’re already familiar with the history, like me). Check out the trailer below.

Clive James Postcard from Rio – 1989

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I came across this documentary about Rio, from 1989, called Clive James Postcard from Rio, showing a snapshot of the city almost 30 years ago. You can find it below in English and with a voice-over in Continental Portuguese. If, for whatever reason, it gets taken down, just put the name of the documentary into Youtube as there are several uploads of the same video.

It’s perhaps important to note the out-of-touch aspect of the host, and how almost every line he says is a non-stop string of “witty” remarks. It’s rather pessimistic for a travel documentary, and the host’s ignorance shines bright in several instances. Nonethelss, it’s still interesting to get a feel for the city in the 80s.


“Strolling along the promenade at Copacabana one could easily believe that the citizens of Rio are the luckiest in the world. But sunshine, music and the beach are the only blessings Rio hands out with fairness.

The chance to eat well and die healthy is the privilege of the few and the envy of the many. The poor living on their wits in the favelas, can only trust the voodoo gods to see them through.

And if that means sacrificing the odd chicken, so be it. Clive James is made welcome by rich and poor alike. While the cariocas live in their own worlds, making contact only when a servant is paid or a millionaire is mugged, the outsider can meet them all.”

Esqueleto Tourist Hotel

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In 1953, work began on the construction of Gavea Tourist Hotel. The idea, designed by architect Décio da Silva Pacheco, was to make a luxury establishment targeting high-earning clientele. The location encompasses about 30,000 square meters, which was to include a restaurant, a private forest and even an aerial tram. Although unfinished, the space was opened for some events: in 1965, there was a large New Year’s Eve celebration with 1,000 guests, and a night club called Sky Terrace was open for a while on the property grounds. From the 60s onward, the setting has been the backdrop for films, model shoots as well as highly frequented by curious travelers over the last decade, including for sports.

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However, in March 1972, the construction of the Hotel was interrupted by developer California Investments, which would take over the project. Five years later, the company filed for bankruptcy and work stopped altogether (and gone with it, the money from 11,000 people who bought shares in the company in exchange for free stays at the hotel). In 2011 it was sold to a group of investors for R$29 million and the building was closed in preparation for technical inspections and future construction, but there were problems with permits and the project didn’t go ahead.

As mentioned, that doesn’t stop people from going there, though. In part, thanks to Globo’s article (PT) in 2016 about the location becoming a tourist spot, there have been many reports (even up to August 2017) of guards posted there and the location being effectively closed. – Sources 1 (PT), 2 (PT) and 3 (PT)

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Augusto Malta Revival

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The Rio remodeled by mayor Pereira Passos in the early twentieth century and today’s Rio meet in the montages of designer and photographer Marcello Cavalcanti. He’s the name behind the show Augusto Malta Revival, currently at the Marré de Si, in Catete. After analyzing images of Malta (1864-1957), who was a photographer for city hall for 33 years, Cavalcanti went after the perfect angle to remake them. On the computer, he fuses scenarios separated by a century, provoking compelling contrasts. – Source (PT)

Check out all 81 posts on the project Instagram here. And watch the behind the scenes on how he creates the effect below. Seems like magic.

Cardboard Head – Joao do Rio

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“Cardboard Head” (aka “O Homem da Cabeça de Papelão“), published in the 1920s by writer and journalist João do Rio, tells the story of Antenor, an honest young man who lives in the Country of the Sun. A man who has a terrible fault: “He always tells the truth”. Due to this, Antenor is discriminated against and repulsed by his family and society in general. Not bearing the pressure, he decides to exchange his head for a cardboard one, produced on an assembly line.

Below is an award-winning stop-motion animation (PT) based on drawings by J. Carlos and inspired by João do Rio’s Cardboard Head.

Preserving Carioca landscapes

Carioca landscapes: world heritage to be preserved (in PT)

One of the 14 World Cultural Heritage sites in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro’s landscape. It’s the only item on the list that brings together urbanism and natural beauty. So what do we need to do to preserve this scenery? Here’s a 10-minute talk with architect and city planner Luiz Fernando Janot.


Essentially, it’s hard to think about preservation and UNESCO titles when there’s so much work that needs to be done locally on multiple levels, first.

Gavea Planetarium gets protected status

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“Inaugurated on November 19, 1970, the Fundação Planetário is dedicated to disseminating astronomy and related sciences and offering quality culture and leisure to the people of Rio de Janeiro and other visitors, becoming synonymous with fun not only through the Summit Sessions, but by promoting a series of cultural activities and projects, for all kinds of people, allowing integration between the most diverse areas of science.

The Planetarium Foundation has two units in operation: Gávea and Santa Cruz. In Gávea, the visitor can visit the Museum of the Universe, which houses 60 interactive experiments and exhibitions; the Giordano Bruno Library, with a collection of approximately 2,500 books, the amphitheater, the Sergio Menge auditorium, the Galileo Space, aimed at children’s recreation; Telescopes Square, where telescope observations occur; and the Carl Sagan and Galileo Galilei Summits, reformed in 2011.” – Official Site

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Protected Status

Amid the legal dispute over a possible sale of the land to pay labor debts, the Gávea Planetarium will be listed as part of Rio’s historical and cultural heritage. The bill 2.640/17 had already been approved by the Rio de Janeiro Legislative Assembly (Alerj), who on Wednesday (August 23, 2017) overturned governor Luiz Fernando Pezão’s veto. Of the 70 parliamentarians, 48 voted in favor of overturning the veto.

The declaration does not prevent the sale of the land, which almost took place in April in order to pay the labor debts of Rio’s State Housing Company (Cehab), which owns the area. But the demolition or de-characterization of the original property is forbidden. – Source (PT)

Rio Olympics, one year later

I’ve been seeing articles and videos on the topic for a few months but I was waiting for one that could hit upon the zeitgeist. I think this 19-min report by China Global TV Network does a nice job of showing just that.

It’s sad to see but it’s not like this wasn’t the expected outcome. There are so many pressing issues but I feel like if public safety could be at least under control, it’d make a world of difference. For that to happen, police presence would have to be increased by 10 times.