Project is an artist-led progressive cultural platform focused on how people live and work in, share and survive the contemporary city with the Center of São Paulo as our outlook. It gets its name from the ubiquitous lunch counters—convivial, fluorescent-lit, open-walled, laborious, points of commerce—that populate almost every street corner. (a.k.a. Associação Espaço Cultural Lanchonete) is a group of 20+ people—artists and others—who care about the Center of São Paulo. It attempts to pilot an atypical organizational form, a cluster of associated people and organizations working together who share some basic values and aspirations for the city. We observe that the right to the city is not a static thing and may never be fully experienced without new, incremental, and outside-the-box approaches…some of which can be learned about and shared through hosting people from other places and backgrounds (See: artist engagement).

Our focus includes the relationship between urban and rural, the Center and the Periphery, and the historic migratory flows on which São Paulo, Brazil’s epicenter of business and trade—and one of the largest cities in the world—has grown to prominence. We are interested precisely in the differential between a city’s power and that of its people. We are equally interested in common ground and counter narratives. Through its site-specificity, retains a point of reference for understanding other cities and contexts. is both a physical space and an association; a restaurant and a platform; a business-as-Trojan-Horse.

Raquel Rolnik, UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing and professor of architecture at the University of São Paulo says that one new development she sees in the social movements of São Paulo is the active role of cultural agents. While there is no standard definition for a platform, it is fair to say that cultural agents are a highly visible, catalytic part of progressive, urban processes (including actions, campaigns, interventions, etc.) that can be called platforms.   For a platform is a ‘durable container’ for the mixing of a range of ideas and issues from the community, which cut across and connect areas of daily life, and cannot be fully defined (with all topics) before it opens itself as an accessible process that citizens can enter, join, modify, and define.  Take for example a focus on water in São Paulo by a local group comprised of artists, curators, architects, activists and urbanists hosted at KUNSTHALLE São Paulo.

Given the form of the container—a typical lunch counter—the issues of food sovereignty, urban gardening, ecosystems,and labor conditions of food workers, and as well as access to vocational training in the restaurant industry are all necessary to consider as we aspire to use locally-grown produce and example just labor practices. To this end we are partnering with Cidades Sem Fome (urban gardening) and GastroMotiva (culinary training). Through their combined expertise, the day-to-day operations of the lanchonete are fully planned, and we begin to see a growing collaboration that may result in integrated training programs to be offered at the lanchonete or elsewhere.  While operating a popular restaurant places a particular focus on food, nutrition, and hospitality, these limited topics provide the ballast for understanding and discussing the cumulative causality of class and labor on urban, daily life in the surging city. as playful license borrows from Brazil’s rich food culture, e.g. feira (periodic street market), feijoada (traditional lunches), prato feito (blue plate special), lanches (popular snacks), hotdog and dessert carts (that pre-date the corporate food cart hype); as well as highlighting the food of ethnic enclaves and/or regional representation in different parts of São Paulo (e.g. Acarajé or Maniçoba coming from the Northeast), while also looking for profound connections to the places we are invited to visit outside of Brazil (See: artist engagement).

As explained above, the food (of it) is both actual and somewhat of a trope.  While we love food and understand its relation to rights, labor and daily life, we also want to be careful in how we deploy and encourage its discourse.  We know that foodie trends are easily subsumed or co-opted by the narrative of our ‘hungry’ market, and regularly a part of pricing people out of neighborhoods where they have made their homes at the micro-level while agro-politics at the macro-level is the staging ground for colonization 2.0.  Therefore, we are very cautious in how we make our food.


We say artist engagement, but that is somehow limiting. Below you will see the work of researchers, chefs, activists, artists, activists, students, professors, architects, gardeners, urban planners, curators, journalists and social movements. As a major component, the project invites a group of international artists to reside in – and thus develop a relationship with – the Center of São Paulo, its citizens, institutions, issues and patterns. can best be described as a ‘platform’ or ‘container’. While the team is primarily focused on building and maintaining a durable container, anyone can put ideas, projects, issues and concerns into this container.  We support artistic production and other collaborations that ‘land’ on the platform.  As for international guests, each residency is tailored to their ideas/concepts, project support needs, desired modes of engagement and collaboration, as well as where they will live in the city. regularly participates in international events and networks on the themes we care about, e.g. São Paulo X Architecture Biennial, Chobi Mela Photography Festival (Dhaka), Modes of Democracy @ DOX Center for Contemporary Art (Prague), Gdynia Design Days, San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial, Bamako Encounters, Cities as Community Spaces (Valletta), The Nature of Cities, ArtsEverywhere and the World Policy Institute’s Arts-Policy Nexus. It is quite common that the guests we host in the Center of São Paulo are working on similar endeavors in their own cities/countries, and the cultural event or topical conference is often a point of introduction.

Artists description.


Ghawazee Coletivo de Ação (2012)

Ghawazee is a transdisciplinary performance action collective, made up of women with different artistic backgrounds, which investigates the expressions of the feminine through artistic actions presented in public spaces. The collective is searching for the creation of an experimental language practice that forges a temporary, transgressive disruptions in the order of everyday life through artistic actions, intended mostly for the local, found and unforeseen public.



Thiago Correia Gonçalves (2013)

Thiago Correia Gonçalves (*1983, Brazil) lives and works in São Paulo and New York. He studied Cinema at FAAP(SP-BR) and Architecture at the Escola da Cidade (SP-BR) and Architectural Association (LDN-UK). Among the institutions where he has shown his works are: Niklas Schechinger Gallery (2014), Hamburg (GER); Vitrina, MASP (2014); Memorial da América Latina (2014); Centro Cultural São Paulo (2013), all in Sao Paulo; Casa de Cultura Mário Quintana (2013) and Galeria Península (2014) in Porto Alegre (BR); and Dox Center in Prague (CZK).



Leandro Viana (2013)

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Leandro Viana is a freelance photographer based in New York City. After breaking into the field through fashion, editorial, and advertising photography, most notably at DPZ, one of Brazil’s leading advertising agencies, Leandro began documenting social issues such as immigration, refugees, and human rights.




Jakub Szczęsny (2014)

Jakub Szczęsny is a co-founder of Centrala, a design platform from Warsaw, Poland. He operates globally with both architectural and artistic assignments, one of which takes place in frame of the project in São João Occupation in São Paulo’s downtown. His project of writer’s studio named Keret House was included in the permanent collection of MoMA in 2013.



Pepe Dayaw (2015)

Joseph Michael Patricio is Pepe Dayaw. ‘Pepe Dayaw’ is a work-in-progress. In this work lies a blend of folklore, precarious technologies and funky improvisations whose mission is to research and choreograph living designs and sociality. Formally educated in the University of the Philippines, University of Amsterdam, University of Warwick, the National Museum of Reina Sofia Madrid and the Kaloob Philippine Music and Dance Ministry, Pepe performs, having trained in several dance disciplines such as pangalay and butoh, a self-taught chef, polyglot and masseur; and a professional karaoke singer. Born in Manila and grew up everywhere, Pepe is a leftover of past lives that get renewed each time he performs. He started cooking out of nostalgia for island tropical memories and has since been utilising this practice as a research tool for rehearsing emergent democracies through his independent production platform Nowhere Kitchen.




Blake Morris (2015)

Blake is a private chef in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  He is from Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and moved to Toronto when he was 18 to attend the culinary school of George Brown College. During Summers for the past seven years, Blake has been one of the head chefs for Wasan Island, an international conference center in the Muskoka Lakes, north of Toronto. In addition to Canada, he has lived and worked in London, Berlin, and Guatemala City.  In Guatemala City he helped create a lunch program for homeless with local restaurants, and organized a monthly “Free Dr. Day” that brought doctors to an underserved community to offer pro bono care. 

Alyssa_Becker copy

Alyssa Becker (2015)

Chef Alyssa Becker entered the Toronto culinary scene after graduating from George Brown College in Toronto in 2008.  Chef Becker completed the Chef Training program and the post-graduate French Culinary Arts program where she studied alongside chefs in Toronto as well as at the ITHQ – Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec in Montreal, and at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France. Alyssa assisted in opening Rodney’s by Bay in downtown Toronto (2009), and worked as Head Chef at John and Sons Oyster House (2012-2015). She has also worked as the Executive Chef at Wasan Island since 2009, an International conference centre situated in the Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, where she is currently the Operations Manager. Chef Becker is highly driven by the food culture that Toronto celebrates and is continuously inspired by her travels to gain more knowledge of international cuisine.


Adler Murad (2015)

Adler was born in Teresina, Piauí, Brazil (1986). He lives and works between São Paulo and Teresina. Adler is a visual artist—publication, drawing, installation and a range of collaborations—and independent editor/publisher.  He sees his hybrid working style as a proposition for a contemporary artistic practice comprised of objects as well as cultural and social actions. 



Jeaná Morrison (2015)

Jeaná Morrison is a doctoral student at Drexel University’s School of Education. Her research interests include access and equity in higher education and the negotiation of marginal identities in education contexts. Her dissertation research will examine Black Brazilian students attending university under the quota system.


梁丹丹 Dandan Liang (2015)

梁丹丹 (Dandan Liang) is a theatre producer, manager, performer and director from Beijing. In 2008, she co-founded and began operating the very first independent theater in China – Beijing Penghao Theater. It is still the only theatre in Beijing to present a wide variety of performances. Since it’s founding, the 110 person black-box theater in Beijing has hosted over 200 different performances from artists around China and the world. By acting as a public Chinese theatre it has become an essential cultural force: cultivating original pieces, hosting international festivals and setting the stage for a theater community and dialogue in Beijing that previously did not exist. In 2014, Dandan enrolled in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to learn how theater organizations around the world operate. 




Roberto Tejada (2015)

Roberto Tejada is author of the poetry collections Full Foreground (Arizona, 2012), Exposition Park (Wesleyan, 2010), and Mirrors for Gold (Krupskaya, 2006). An art writer and historian, his other publications include National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment (Minnesota, 2009), A Ver: Celia Alvarez Muñoz (Minnesota, 2009), essays in books on photographers Graciela Iturbide and Miguel Rio Branco, and critical writings on contemporary U.S. and Latino American artists in Afterimage, Aperture, Bomb, The Brooklyn Rail, SF Camerawork, and Third Text. In Mexico this year, a volume of his selected poems will appear as Todo en el ahora (Libros Magenta, 2015) with translations into Spanish by poets Alfonso D’Aquino and Gabriel Bernal Granados (Mexico), and Omar Pérez (Cuba).


Steph Yates (2015)

Steph Yates is an artist, musician, and bookmaker living and working in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Her practice involves stop-motion animation, installation, kinetic sculpture, printmaking, and mixed media work, which she is currently exploring as an artist in residence at The Boarding House Arts Incubator Program. Since 2013, Yates has been working with Publication Studio Guelph as its studio coordinator, bookmaker, member of the editorial group, and teacher of various hands-on workshops. Yates can often be seen performing in a slew of local bands, and her own musical projects include garage-pop outfit Esther Grey and sparkle-punk duo Cupcake Ductape.


El Departamento de la Comida (2015)

El Departamento de la Comida distributes local organic harvest from different family and community farms in Puerto Rico. Its mission is to promote and support local agriculture without pesticides and of the highest quality, making available healthy, fresh, local produce and other products. Its suppliers come from all around the island and El Departamento takes responsibility for distributing the harvest through weekly boxes delivered straight to clients’ homes and offices, selling to restaurants, and through an online grocery store. El Departamento participates and supports educational programs and iniciatives that promote sustainable agriculture and local health and economy.




Jaime Lauriano (2015)

Jaime Lauriano (*1985, São Paulo, Brazil) holds a degree in Visual Arts from São Paulo’s Centro Universitário Belas Artes. His work discusses the structures involved in the formation of public space and the history of the development of the Brazilian state. It uses strategies present in contemporary audiovisual productions (such as advertising), of archival materials and field research, to leverage its discussions.   Among his most recent exhibitions are the following solo shows: Impedimento, Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, 2014; Em Exposição – Sesc Consolação, São Paulo, Brazil, 2013; Olhares, Escutas E Outras Histórias, SESC, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, 2010. And the group shows: PIESP Exhibition 2013-14 / Programa Independente da Escola São Paulo, Casa do Povo, São Paulo, Brazil, 2014; Tatu: futebol, adversidade e cultura da caatinga, Rio Art Museum (MAR), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2014; Taipa-Tapume, Galeria Leme, São Paulo, Brazil, 2014; Espaços Independentes: A Alma É O Segredo Do Negócio, São Paulo, Brazil, in 2013.




Thea Little (2015)

Thea Little is a choreographer, performer, musician, and composer born and living in New York City, USA. She holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University and a BA in Dance from the School of General Studies at Columbia University. Thea works collaboratively with trained dancers, non-dancers, and performance artists, as well as with artists in other mediums, and draws a lot of her material from improvisation, with performances ranging from loose to set structures depending on venues and concepts. Thea is primarily interested in issues of boundaries, stretching what is foreign to home,  and what is rigid and controlling to accepting and nurturing.


Niki Singleton (2015)

Niki Singleton is a Canadian drawer, painter and found material sculptor based in Brooklyn. A few of her projects include a 130 page graphic novel on the survival stories of four Sudanese refugees ( Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan ), a gay tragic/comic strip series on Facebook and a political comic series Counter Clockwise published on The Mantle. He work usually focus on the underdog or fringe groups whose voices go unheard. She has undertaken residencies in France, the Netherlands, New York and has had solo exhibitions at Undercurrent Projects in New York City, the Holocaust Museum in Dallas and Imagine Ic in Amsterdam. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Friedman Gallery, Nurture Art Benefit and White Box Gallery in Manhattan as well as Life on Mars Gallery, Brooklyn Fireproof Gallery, Studio 10 and Triangle Workshop in Brooklyn.



Carlos Motta (2015)

Carlos Motta is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work draws upon political history in an attempt to create counter narratives that recognize suppressed histories, communities, and identities. His work is known for its engagement with histories of queer culture and activism and for its insistence that the politics of sex and gender represent an opportunity to articulate definite positions against social and political injustice.



Maya Mikdashi (2015)

Maya Mikdashi is a Mellon Postdoc at the Institute for Research on Women and the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. Her upcoming book length manuscript entitled ” Sex and Sectarianism: Secularism, Secularity and War in Contemporary Lebanon,” is both an archival and ethnographic study of the regulation of sexual and religious difference within secular political systems. Maya works at the intersection of legal anthropology, feminism, queer theory, and theories of sovereignty, secularism and religion. She has worked on a number of documentary and narrative film projects, and continues to edit and write for Jadaliyya, an e-zine that she co-founded and that is centered on critical approaches to studying the transnational Middle East.

Through a community organizing approach, learns about and amplifies citizen endeavors, and seeks to add value through artist engagement, e.g. artist residency embedded in community settings and presentation of collaborative works through conferences, publications and exhibitions, as well as a range of interventions borrowed from other fields such as mapping, town hall meetings, banquets and community media.


A series of portraits

A series of portraits was taken by Leandro Viana in a studio improvised on the first floor of Occupation São João (a.k.a. Centro Cultural São João) in the Center. Leandro’s photographs portray community members (of the 67 families) who overtook the derelict former Hotel Columbia Palace to live close to their jobs in the convenience of downtown. The people we see in Leandro’s portraits made this space anew. They are maids, security officers, kindergarten teachers, street workers, and students. As much as they can, they repair it, build new additions, and take care of it. The same happens in housing occupations throughout the city, where both residential and commercial spaces often remain empty in central areas due to limited urban policies, which do not incentivize landowners to rent properties at incrementally-adjusted rates and even make it easier to build new structures in lieu of renovating older ones.


Nowhere Kitchen

Led by Joseph Michael Patricio, Nowhere Kitchen is a research process that derives ways of learning (by doing) from cooking practices. It explores various social forms based on cooking with what is there as a ritualistic point of departure. By itself, it is liquid and can assume the form of and intervene with the contexts it inhabits.  During his March 2015 residency with, Joseph (a.k.a. Pepe Dayaw) conjured Nowhere Kitchen in two cultural spaces in the Center of São Paulo—Phosphorus and the São João Cultural Center.


People content.

  • 14962765_10154110463796947_763716806681693805_n

    Isabel Gandía

    Isabel Gandía, Programs Coordinator/ Administration Isabel Gandía was born and raised  in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has been living in New York for the past five years. Isabel has a bachelor degree in Fine Arts and masters in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute, NY. She balances her life between working on sets within the wardrobe department for film and television, coordinating art projects and documenting travels and music. Organized, creative and problem solving. Culture lover, tree hugger and people person.

  • 14725509_1792276371046763_8381602909353877835_n

    Lorena Vicini​

    Lorena Vicini​ works in institutional relation​s; she is a ​b​ook editor and cultural producer in São Paulo. Her company, Prova3 Agência de Conteúdo specializes in the development of educational and cultural content​. ​She is responsible for the coordination of the project Episodes of the South for the Goethe-Institut, which explores different ways to see the world while asking the question ‘What is the global south?’.  For she is responsible for public relations and communications with Brazilians and international partners​. ​Lorena loves carnival and produces  the Bloco João Capota na Alves in São Paulo.

  • 19105772_10213380265123910_6471341692409220639_n

    Daniel Lühmann

    Daniel Lühmann is getting closer to his thirties and works mainly with translation, editing, and all that is written; among the authors translated into Portuguese by him are Emmanuel Carrère, Philip K. Dick and Georges Perec. He is also entering the field of contemporary dance with videos and other materials related to such domain.

  • Thiago Carrapatoso

    Thiago Carrapatoso is a journalist, specialist in Communication, Arts, and Technology and holds a MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS) at Bard College (NY). He is a collaborator of the BaixoCentro Movement in São Paulo, Brazil, which tries to reclaim the streets from a civil society perspective. Thiago is the Executive Coordinator of the Digital Program at the Municipal Theater (São Paulo), and along with the REPEP group, helping create a methodology to use heritage education against gentrification.

  • 14045579_1800321153513065_216163034113570046_n

    Thiago de Paula Souza

    Thiago de Paula Souza was born in São Paulo and raised between the crazy megalopolis and its outskirts. He holds an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences and works as an educator at Museu Afro Brasil, in São Paulo. Thiago is interested in anthropology and education, and researches fields related to racial issues in Brazil, African diaspora and contemporary African migrations.

  • 62521_165288193485811_4764491_n

    Thiago Correia Gonçalves

    Thiago Correia Gonçalves (*1983, Brazil) lives and works in São Paulo and New York. He studied Cinema at FAAP(SP-BR) and Architecture at the Escola da Cidade (SP-BR) and Architectural Association (LDN-UK). Among the institutions where he has shown his works are: Niklas Schechinger Gallery (2014), Hamburg (GER); Vitrina, MASP (2014); Memorial da América Latina (2014); Centro Cultural São Paulo (2013), all in Sao Paulo; Casa de Cultura Mário Quintana (2013) and Galeria Península (2014) in Porto Alegre (BR); and Dox Center in Prague (CZK).

  • ibrahims_portsaid08-1024x681

    Adham Bakry

    Adham Bakry is a graphic designer, illustrator and photographer, and has a BA in architecture. He recently had an exhibition of his photography entitled ‘ Maat el Kalam’ at the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art in Cairo. Adham is always looking for new challenges – artistic and otherwise – for example, he enjoys riding his bike around Cairo. ||

  • 381998_10200179454469510_1350929121_n

    (PT) Carina Paoletti

    Sorry, this entry is only available in Brazilian Portuguese. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

    Produtora de Conteúdo e comunicadora da Plataforma. Formada em Relações Internacionais pela Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Carina passou pela editoria da Editora Abril e Folha de São Paulo. Também desenvolve trabalhos como artista visual, mesclando sua bagagem como editora e pesquisadora de tendências elaborando e construindo imagens.

  • Todd_Lester_HShot_J2013

    Todd Lanier Lester

    He has worked in leadership, advocacy, and strategic planning roles at Global Arts Corps, Reporters sans frontiers, and Astraea Lesbian Justice Foundation.  He founded freeDimensional, a network that helps artists in danger by providing safe haven in participating artist residencies.  Todd is a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute where he directs the Arts-Policy Nexus; a co-curator for the Arts & Society Team of Cities for People in Canada; and serves as a board member for arts, rights and literary organizations in India, Mexico, Brazil, and the US.  artist.roundtable (A.RT) is a collaborative methodology that he is co-making with a broad group of artists and non-artists.

  • fb_foto

    Raphael Daibert

    Currently cultural and art producer for Project and is conducting a research on African immigrants living in the São Paulo housing occupations for Goethe-Institut’s Episodes of the South program.

Upclose content.

  • GastroMotiva

    GastroMotiva is a social organization that believes in the power and responsibility of gastronomy as a transformation agent, capable of reducing inequalities and transforming places and lives. It operates in Brazil and spreads its philosophy around the world.

  • Cities Without Hunger

    Cities Without Hunger is a non-governmental organization (NGO) which has set up sustainable agrarian projects based on organ- ic farming in São Paulo. The aim is to help and teach people to manage their own business and become financially independent, as well as to improve the diets of adults and children. Additionally, the Small Family Farms Project has been set up in Rio Grande do Sul to train farmers in multiple cropping as an alternative to monoculture and help them starting new businesses in organic farming.

  • Casa das Caldeiras

    Casa das Caldeiras, a former industrial building listed as heritage since 1986, opens its doors on Sunday afternoons with the project TODODOMINGO, offering music shows, performances, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, cultural and artistic activities to the general public. The place also works as headquarters of a cultural association involved in promoting its occupation, as well as the mobilization of artistic, cultural, and social energies.

  • Residency Unlimited

    Residency Unlimited (RU) supports the creation, presentation and dissemination of contemporary art through its unique residency program and year-round public programs. RU forges strategic partnerships with collaborating institutions to offer customized support meeting the individual needs of participating artists and curators.

  • Print

    The Occupation São João

    Additionally, the space also has a library, courtyard and a playroom for children. A partnership between and Occupation São João began with a three-week residency for Polish architect Jakub Szczęsny. During his residency, a multi-year collaboration was planned. Jakub’s drawings hint at the brainstorming that filled those three weeks in March 2014 (See: projects within the project).ão-João/490900594319238?ref=br_tf

  • 33-705x495


    Founded in 2012, PIVÔ is a non-profit cultural organization that operates as a platform for exchange programs and artistic experi- mentation with the objective of proposing critical questioning of the fields of art, architecture, urban planning and other contemporary manifestations.  PIVÔ is a member of the Circuito Centro (


  • 11182114_705543246240963_4633949187665506357_n
    21/06/2017 - 23:06

    (PT) Adler Murada em residência na Paim

    Sorry, this entry is only available in Brazilian Portuguese. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language. Cultura e comida – uma experiência sobre o entendimento da migração, habitação e trabalho Por Carina Paoletti Trabalhar com comida combina […]

  • PasseioUrbanoLanchonete.001
    10/06/2017 - 10:25

    (PT) PASSEIO URBANO – Bela Vista

    Sorry, this entry is only available in Brazilian Portuguese. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language. Por Carina Paoletti Pensar a cidade a partir da experiência que se faz com o corpo presente nas ruas. Nos juntamos […]

  • photo-70
    27/11/2016 - 21:16

    Developing identities to improve collectivity

    Faced with chaotic and uneven processes of gentrification, today São Paulo has a serious housing deficit: the city lacks 200,000 accommodation spaces for its citizens and has a chronic lack of access to social housing facilities. Ocupação São João is an example of this reality, the occupation of an abandoned hotel being carried out in […]

Contact us

Rua Paim, 235 - Condomínio Edifício 14 Bis - São Paulo - SP

Or send us a email: