Located just underneath the Museu de Arte de São Paulo – also known as MASP or Assis Chateaubriand -, the Feira de Antiguidades do MASP or MASP Antiques Market, has been operating once a week since 1979. The impressive building designed by Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi, is made of glass and concrete and is wonderfully suspended above ground level by large beams. This architectural tour de force leaves the large rectangular area underneath the MASP’s building free to be used for many cultural events, including the weekly antiques market.
The stalls at the MASP Antiques Market, which are standardized and distributed according to a geometrically coherent pattern, offer all kinds of unique second hand items, including antique clocks, jewelry, household items, ornaments, toys, weapons, coins and also arts and crafts.
The MASP Antique Market used to be a larger market with upwards of 100 vendors occupying the space each week, but in recent years it has become a smaller affair with perhaps just 40 stalls set up. This makes for a more intimate shopping trip, though it may not be worth making a journey to this area especially for the MASP Antiques Market. However, if other sight-seeing is going on close to this area, it is definitely worth browsing through for an hour or two.
It can be tricky to strike up conversation with vendors running their stalls at the MASP Antiques Market without a basic grasp of Portuguese. Even with some mastery of the language, shoppers may encounter stall-holders that are a little reluctant to bargain. It is still worth trying of course, as moods can vary and sometimes the odd gem of an antique appears at the MASP Antiques Market that simply needs to be bought.
The area around the MASP Antiques Market is quite touristy, and because of this, prices are often a little high on the stalls. Even if the bargains are elusive, it is a lovely little market for ‘window shopping’. There are also plenty of refreshments available as across the street is Avenida Paulista, a small street market selling other arts and crafts, with cafés and local food stalls in abundance.
Travelers visiting Sao Paolo can kill two birds with one stone, by visiting both the Feira de Antiguidades do MASP and the weekly Feira da Praça Benedito Calixto antique market.