São Paulo is Architect Marcio Kogan’s favourite city to work in and it shows. With a series of beautiful and elegant residences in this busy city in recent years, the architect proves why he is considered to be one of Brazil’s top contemporary architects.
Award-winning Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan of StudioMK27 is known for his radical, elegant designs and use of non-traditional materials in construction. He effortlessly combines concrete, stonework and wood in his projects. His buildings have been described as “jaw-dropping” homes that also succeed in being completely functional as living spaces. The serene ‘House of Ipês’ in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is one such example.
Marcio Kogan was born in São Paulo and graduated in Architecture and Urbanism from the Mackenzie University in 1976. Kogan’s works have earned several international awards, including four prizes from the Brazilian Architects Institute, a nomination for the World Architecture Awards, the first prize in the Leaf Awards 2009 and the first prize in the 2010 edition of the Design Awards, under the category of Best Private House. In 2001, his firm took on the name of StudioMK27 and this team of architects now take on international projects as well, to much applause.
One of Kogan’s greatest passions is cinema. Fan of Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini, Kogan studied and served as a director until he was 30. Cinema continues to remain a major influence on his architecture.
For the last decade or so, Kogan has consistently gone against conventional thinking and has used exposed concrete at a time when many builders were saying that this was impossible to do. Experimenting with concrete (“liquid stone”) has been the purview of only a few. The House of Ipês’ uses this material to great success.
The focal point of the house is the upper storey, a large rectangular concrete box that appears to be hovering in mid-air, reaching out to the palms at the edge of the garden wall. Despite its size, the house looks light and volume-less.
On the ground floor, the main entrance is through a series of slatted doors that open fully, providing access to the front garden and the private pool.
Inside, an expansive living room invites guests to lounge about on the long, double-sided grey sofas that “wriggle around the room” or choose a deck chair by the water. Along one wall of the living room, a floor-to-ceiling wooden media wall features a television, music system and other accessories. An intriguing mix of furniture dots the room: yellow beanbags, floor lamps, comfy armchairs and funky yellow accessories for a splash of bright colour.
The open plan dining and kitchen area lead out of the living room to enable an interaction across the entire area. The dining chairs, upholstered in purple, give the space a fun yet elegant feel. Above, pendant lights of various sizes follow the light-as-air theme.
The living room doors (along all sides) open entirely, bringing the outdoors in and making the outdoors a seamless extension of the house.
On the top floor, four bedrooms invite retreat with their luxurious furnishings and comfortable furniture. Rocking chairs, vintage lamps and soft carpets underfoot add a sense of warmth and welcome. Overlooking the trees and the pool, the bedrooms are quiet, an escape. A TV room on the same floor provides yet another private space to lounge.
The striking wood block on the façade of this floor is actually a wooden brise-soleil (a sun-shading element) that can be opened or closed depending on the degree of light or shade required. The innovative use of this technique ensures a control over heat, keeping the rooms cool in the naturally warm Brazilian climate.
Kogan’s fascination for the box shape continues to show up in innovative ways; many of his recent projects have similar structures. The House of Ipês stands proudly as one more witness to the drama and creativity of one of Brazil’s iconic architects.