An amazing option for outdoor activities and must-see in any city: parks. And the parks in São Paulo will surprisingly satisfy your senses. Today’s post features the Burle Marx Park.
Mood of the post: The beautiful tune that trip-hop Bristol’s band Alpha performed live in 1997, Sometime Later.
A statement: one of the things I love more in life are trees. Better yet, lots of trees, all together. The more humid and green the better. I grew up in São Paulo, a city that sees some 22 million people going back and forth daily just like in an anthill. Our house wasn’t in the center of the city, but in the very green suburbs 30 kilometers away from it. Inside of the Atlantic Forest. We used to refer to the center of São Paulo as “the city”, as our lives happened mostly around our neighborhood. Maybe that is why I had this concrete jungle idea of what was São Paulo.
I moved out off Brazil some 9 years ago and since then I’ve lived in 5 of the world’s most important capitals and visited many more. And anywhere, if I can choose where I’ll live, it will be next to a park. If I’m traveling, I’ll almost certain go for jogging in the closest park I can find. But believe it or not, I hadn’t been in almost any parks in São Paulo. And I finally did it in this last trip I took to my city, after 4 years without having stepped there. And I was just WOWED.
If searching in Trip Advisor for the best ideas of outdoor activities in São Paulo, one will find four parks recommendation until reaching number 10. And I’ve never heard of those four parks! São Paulo has at least forty municipal parks spread around the city. Yes, forty! The Cantareira Park, for instance, is home of one of the largest urban forests of the planet, covering an area of 7.900 hectars of extension.
The Burle Marx park is only one of the forty, but it became my favorite. The density of the flora and the jungle vibe made me fall in love. It is located in an area of wealth, with imposing and luxurious buildings framing the park.
And who was Roberto Burle Marx, the man who gently gave his name to such a lovely piece of land? Well, Roberto Burle Marx was a Brazilian landscape architect (as well as a painter, print maker, ecologist, naturalist, artist and musician) whose designs of parks and gardens made him world-famous. He projected the main garden, as well as a its tile mural specially to integrate the gardens of a house built in 1950 by the grand brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The house was never inhabited, and it was demolished in 1990. In 1995, the gardens were availed to give way to the park.
Landscape design, Roberto Burle Marx once wrote, “was merely the method I found to organize and compose my drawing and painting, using less conventional materials.”
According to The New York Times, “It was while studying painting in Germany during the Weimar Republic, as he would later tell it, that Burle Marx realized that the vegetation Brazilians then dismissed as scrub and brush, preferring imported pine trees and gladioli for their gardens, was truly extraordinary. Visiting the Botanical Garden in Berlin, he was startled to find many Brazilian plants in the collection and quickly came to see the untapped artistic potential in their varied shapes, sizes and hues”.
“The way Burle Marx synthesized art and horticulture in three-dimensional design is really quite exceptional,”
Mirka Benes, landscape historian
And in my consideration, a good park won’t never miss a bit of art! Besides of the “Casulão” depicted here, there is another very interesting art installation hidden inside of the dense vegetation of the Burle Marx Park: “O Descanso da Sala”. Or, in a free translation, “The Rest of the Room”. Rest as in respite, break. It is an installation by artist José Spaniol and it represents an upside down living room, or a room, opposite to a water mirror.
Parks + art. A blissful life could be resumed to that!
Tatiana Bastos Photography. More at instagram.com/tatyart11.