After half a century since its opening the Brazilian White House, the Palácio do Planalto (Upland’s Palace), got a 100 million reais (US$ 56 million) facelift that took over a year and a half to complete.
The first renovation of the building since it was inaugurated in 1960 was scheduled to be completed when the city celebrated its (and the building’s) 50th anniversary in April.
That did not quite work out as planned. But, finally, this week, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will return to his offices – with new, modern elevators and electrical and hydraulic installations.
All the furniture in the building is now Brazilian-made, including many pieces that have been restored like 400 tables, among them two used by president Juscelino Kubitschek, the man who built Brasilia. Another famous table in the Palace is a huge one used for cabinet meetings.
The very long table was designed by legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer – still working regularly at the ripe age of 102 – and can seat 38 ministers – 19 on each side.
The Palácio do Planalto has a curator, Cláudio Soares Rocha, and he says the idea is to give domestic artists and craftsmen the prestige and recognition they deserve. “The Palace, the president’s workplace, has an obligation to ‘sell’ Brazil,” he says.
One of the objectives of the renovation was to reduce the interior dividing walls where cubicles and cubicles were created over the years to house a growing workforce that reached a total of almost 600.
The building is now more faithful to the original design, with more open spaces. And the number of workers in the building will be reduced to around 350.