The Permanent Yayoi Kusama Gallery in Brazil: A Fusion of Art, Nature, and Architecture

A Closer Look at the Innovative Design of the Yayoi Kusama Gallery at Instituto Inhotim

Nestled among the trees at the Instituto Inhotim in Brumadinho, Brazil, the newly completed Yayoi Kusama Gallery is a testament to the harmonious blend of art, nature, and architecture. Designed by studios MACh Arquitectos and Rizoma Arquitectura, this permanent gallery is dedicated to housing two iconic installations by the renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. With its innovative design and thoughtful integration into the surrounding landscape, the gallery not only provides shelter for these artworks but also addresses the challenge of long waiting lines formed by eager visitors.

Minimalism and Functionality: The Shading System

Architects Fernando Maculan (MACh) and Maria Paz (Rizoma) approached the design of the Yayoi Kusama Gallery with a focus on minimalism and functionality, particularly when it came to the shading system. A sequence of parallel cables connects the highest point near the cut slope to the lowest point at the opposite end of the plateau, metaphorically reconstructing the original site’s profile. This tensioned shading not only provides practical benefits but also capitalizes on the space generated by the land cut.

Integration of Nature: A Living Canopy

One of the key elements in the design of the Yayoi Kusama Gallery is the integration of a flexible metal mesh that serves as a support surface for the growth of Congea tomentosa, an exotic climbing plant introduced to Brazil in the 1960s by Roberto Burle Marx. This carefully chosen plant offers shading and rainwater retention while adding an aesthetic dimension to the design. With its ever-changing flower coloration in white, pink, lilac, and grey, the Congea contributes to the sense of time and continuous transformation, enhancing the overall experience of the gallery.

A Topographical Intervention

The gallery seamlessly merges with the surrounding landscape, creating a harmonious connection between the natural forest and the manicured garden. Under the shading roof, the gallery opens horizontally to the garden on one side and ascends toward the pavilion as a vertical concrete plane. This thoughtful approach transforms the architecture into a topographical intervention intricately tied to the site’s configuration. The lines defined by various paving materials lead visitors to small gathering areas equipped with wood benches, inviting them to immerse themselves in the serene surroundings and scenic views.

Linger and Discover: Inviting Spaces

The design of the Yayoi Kusama Gallery incorporates small gathering areas equipped with wood benches, creating inviting spaces for visitors to linger and soak in the ambiance and scenic views. Whether within the pavilion or in the surrounding gardens, these spaces offer a sense of tranquility and contemplation. Viewed from above, the gallery’s design acts as a captivating color intervention in the landscape, connecting the natural forest with the manicured garden and evoking a sense of wonder—a magical world awaiting discovery by Inhotim’s visitors.


The Yayoi Kusama Gallery at Instituto Inhotim in Brazil stands as a testament to the power of art, nature, and architecture working in perfect harmony. Through its minimalist design, innovative shading system, and integration of the Congea tomentosa climbing plant, the gallery provides a unique and immersive experience for visitors. As they explore the space, they are not only captivated by Kusama’s iconic installations but also enveloped in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The Yayoi Kusama Gallery is a true testament to the transformative power of art and the ability of architecture to create spaces that inspire and engage.

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