Made from translucent acetate and carved with a slight slope to flatter the face, the elegant frames were deemed a technical and financial impossibility by every manufacturer that the couple approached with their sketches. “They would tell us, ‘We don’t do jewelry,’ ” says Gustavo, 37, who designs the glasses. (“I’m the fit model,” notes Gisela, 40, with a laugh. ) So the pair decided to take matters into their own hands.
Together with the young firm Way Architecture Yell—its founders, the Norman Foster protégés Priscilla Pinotti and Carlo Costa, are also a couple—they worked on the renovation, using mainly granite and Brazilian teak. “We wanted materials that made us feel like we were at the beach,” says Gustavo, who drives two hours to the closest surf spot whenever he can.
After studying the market, they realized that there was a dearth of high-end eyewear made in Brazil—the country’s once-thriving optical industry deteriorated when companies moved their manufacturing to China in the 1990s. “Everyone began doing cheap glasses to compete,” says Gustavo. “We chose the opposite way.
Hair by Carolina Aguilera; Makeup by Vanessa Rozan; Gisela Assis wears her own shoes; Gustavo Assis wears his own clothing; Pool, Staircase, Dining Room: Tiago Navas.
They decorated the interior sparingly, with furniture from Brazilian designers—minimalist tables by Jader Almeida, a pair of Sergio Rodrigues leather-slung Kilin chairs, and an oversize standing lamp by Alfio Lisi—as well as a suspended wood sideboard that Gustavo himself designed.
All this was happening while they were having their third child (Carlota, after whom their best-selling model is now named) and overseeing the gut renovation of their new house—another exquisitely complicated project. “We’ve realized that if we become obsessed with an idea because of its beauty, we find a way to make it happen,” Gisela says.