Text and photography by Lee F. Mindel for Architectural Digest.
A scenic view overlooking Ipanema Beach, from the Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro.
As Brazilian Carnival approaches (February 28-March 4), Rio de Janeiro becomes the epicenter of the celebrations going on throughout the country. Soon it will play host to events for the entire world: this year's World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. But Rio is so much more than a one-note samba for celebration--the city and its environs are chock-full of great buildings, parks, promenades, restaurants, museums, and beaches, all imbued with a sense of joy and sensuality.
It was a privilege for me to recently visit a Rio penthouse that my firm designed over 20 years ago, along with so many of the places I had always dreamed of seeing. Through the generosity of Ronald Cavaliere, an architect and former member of the legendary Oscar Niemeyer's team, I was able to go on a personal tour of Rio's most essential architectural wonders. Cavaliere's daughter, an art gallerist named America (she was born on the Fourth of July), was our "girl from Ipanema," guiding us to works by Niemeyer, Lúcio Costa, Affonso Eduardo Reidy, Olavo Redig de Campos, Marcelo and Milton Roberto, to name just a few.
Seeing how different architectural styles blended into each other, I was reminded of a lyric by famed Brazilian musician Antônio Carlos Jobim:
Now this new note is the consequence of the one we've just been through
As I'm bound to be the unavoidable consequence of you.
Looking toward Corcovado, inside the central patio of the park's mansion, which now houses the School of Visual Arts.
Parque Lage, a public park located at the foot of Corcovado Mountain, includes English gardens, walking trails, and an Eclectic-style mansion.>
A serpentine red ramp leads to the Niemeyer's Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, known as MAC (Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói).
A view of Casa das Canoas, designed by Oscar Niemeyer in 1951 and formerly used as his family residence.
A stunning sunset in Rio de Janeiro.