Michell Lott, São Paulo, Brazil
Words by Elisha Kennedy
Images by Lufe Gomes
Michell Lott has spent the last five years working at Casa Vogue Brasil, and, having just left his in-house role last month he is embracing the present unknown with enthusiasm and a sense of adventure, “When I was a journalist I wrote about inspiring stories and projects, now I want to be a part of them” he tells us.
His home that he shares with friends and his boyfriend in São Paulo feels like a theatre set. Each room is a carefully designed scene, considered for its drama as much as its balance of texture and colour. As we chat to Michell he waxes nostalgic about the games invented as children beneath bed sheet forts, conjuring up games in hidden, imagined realms. “I was an only child and have such strong memories of playing with my cousins constructing towers out of bed sheets. Bed was about play, why shouldn’t it still be?”
Michell, your home feels like a set. It’s so full of colour and character, tell us about how it has changed since you moved in.
My home is like a lab for me, it’s also full of stories. When I moved to São Paulo 7 years ago, a friend invited me and some other friends to live together in this old house from the 1950’s. Since the beginning we each contributed creativity to make it a home. Today I am the only one from this first group who still lives here, there have been a lot of changes over time. The walls have changed colours as we evolve personally. As a creative and aesthete, I love to make everything in the home beautiful. For example, our living room is all about earthy tones – even in the ceiling. I also love raw and natural materials and dried plants. I think it represents the period we are going through right now; reconnecting with our origins, the earth.
Our kitchen is the only room that is original. The blue walls were chosen by a friend who now lives in London. This is the place we all spend the most time together. There is a mysterious energy that attracts us all to the kitchen constantly. We light candles and put flowers on the table and open wine, make dinner together and listen to music. I also love that we painted the old refrigerator gold! As time goes by, its aging and becoming more beautiful.
My bedroom has been painted green since I was born, it’s a tradition that I just have to continue. Right now it is a dark and saturated green that covers everything, even the ceiling. In my bedroom I keep the treasures I have thrifted throughout my life and my travels.
Throughout the entire house there is a palette coordination that I do instinctively. Something like Morocco-meets-Amazon. With the tobacco linen, for example, I had to work with some other tobacco like colours. I used these wild flowers named Taboa in my room that perfectly matches the colour. Also in the kitchen I have some Urucum and other dried flowers which make the colour connection work in the space for me.
Who lives here? How would you describe the house dynamic?
Right now I live with Renata Miwa (@renatamiwa) artist and ceramicist, Julia Anadam (@julia.anadam), journalist and artist, and I also live with my boyfriend, Felipe Rocha (@efirocha) fashion model and writer. He used to live in his own house but since he came back from a season in Europe, he is living with me and we are figuring out what’s next. We live like a family, we are family. We don’t think of our house as co-living, we take care of each other and we do everything together. What once was a matter of a low budget decision, today is a matter of love.
What do you enjoy about your neighbourhood?
The house is a small villa and all of our neighbours are like 60 years old or more! Pinheiros is very residential but with a lot of cool restaurants and places to go. I like to say that it is like living in a small town just in the centre of a huge city like São Paulo.
Michell lounging on our Tobacco linen duvet set
What are you prioritising at the moment?
Right now I feel as though I’m in a new phase of my life. I want to try everything I can. After spending 5 years as a journalist and a content curator in a huge company like Condé Nast, I feel like there are a lot of possibilities for me now. I just created my first installation in my career a week after I left my job. I am feeling really excited at the moment, prioritising creativity and collaboration with as many people I can! When I was a journalist I wrote about inspiring stories and projects, now I want to be a part of them!
When I was a journalist I wrote about inspiring stories and projects, now I want to be a part of them!
What are some of the most treasured pieces in your home – things that bring you joy?
I have so many! I have all the crafts, wooden pieces and fabrics I have collected from Africa, my favourite continent. I also love my taxidermy bugs, I have some crickets and butterflies. I love vintage stuff. I have a sword that is like 200 years old that my uncle found in his roof, it’s a piece that tells a little about the history of Brazil. I am definitely a collector, especially of old things and handmade things. I also have a special love for my plants. In my garden, I try to have only black and red leaves. Inside, I prefer the dead plants. They remind me all the time that beauty lasts and can be found anywhere – and they also complement the colourways of my earthy-toned living room.
I also have a special love for my plants. In my garden, I try to have only black and red leaves. Inside, I prefer the dead plants. They remind me all the time that beauty lasts and can be found anywhere
Do you have a morning routine?
I take around 2 hours to be really awake, so I like to wake up, have some tea (we became obsessed with mint tea and strong black tea since visiting Morocco), listen to music and talk about life with my mates.
A bedtime routine?
I love to let my bed be messy during the day because I think it looks stylish… I like it more than a perfectly made bed, although when it is time to sleep, I like to straighten it perfectly so I can sleep very comfortably, haha.
What are you looking forward to this year?
I want to experience everything I can! I am turning 30 years old this year so it feels like that time in life when you rethink everything. For me it was the discovery that I want more adventures!