In Brazil, Symrise has built a wooden house on its company property directly on the edge of the rainforest. The proposal for this new building is to provide socio-environmental courses for students from the local community and a sustainable vision for the future.


If you stand on a big balcony at the Symrise Granja ­Viana location in Brazil, you won’t believe that you are just 20 kilometers west of São Paulo City and its 20 million inhabitants. The view is of the Atlantic Rainforest, in which thousands of plants grow and hundreds of species of animals roam. In this place, the company founded its Center of Excellence as its ­Latin American headquarters ten years ago. Currently, 270 people are employed at this site.

Looking to the future with a sustainable focus, Symrise moved to this property with the idea of joining business and environmental commitment together. So, the idea of building a wooden house on Symrise ground next to the Atlantic Rainforest was a totally unique concept as the house includes internet, IT infrastructure, solar panels for energy supply and a rainwater facility. A landscaping project was created to inspire dialogues with the people and nature around it. It encompasses three functionalities: an aromatic herb yard where employees can harvest their spices and teas, a sensory garden to delight all five senses, and a hotel for native bees. It extrapolates and transcends the conventional landscaping model to go beyond only the aesthetic.

Mariana Martins and Eloa Castelucci (left) worked with their team on the construction project in Brazil.

Besides that, the SymHouse fulfills two purposes. The first of these is building awareness of environmental issues. “A few years ago, we started a project with an NGO in which we taught children from a nearby school about nature and its conservation, and more recently we have included the topic of diversity in the program,” says Mariana Martins, who is responsible for Symrise sustainability projects in Brazil. “At the end of the joint work, we always invited the children to our regular building. Now we have our own place for this to advance socio-environmental education.” Since 2018, the Symrise team has trained 240 children, mainly from poorer families.

The second purpose has to do with the employees. There are very few spots around the Center for ­Excellence where employees can take a break in the fresh air or that they can use as alternative meeting locations. “They can now use the wooden house and the space in front of it for their lunch breaks and to decompress,” says Eloa Castelucci, Operations Director Scent & Care and Sustainability Ambassador at Symrise. “It also means we now have another nice place to conduct training sessions and welcome our customers.”

At the end of 2021, the team invited a Brazilian artist to paint one side of the house with a mural. The ­pictures are a well-known art form in Brazil and often have messages relating to important causes. “For us, it’s about environmental protection,” explains Mariana Martins. “This is how we can show from afar what we can do with this house. In addition, art is a way to bring sensoriality and collaborators closer to such a project.”