Q&A with Architect and Designer Marcio Kogan

No stranger to Miami, the Brazilian architect and designer brings a cinematic sensibility to his work for Minotti—and everything else he does


At his mk27 studio in São Paulo, architect Marcio Kogan has been putting his stamp on Brazilian modernism for decades with an aesthetic that’s informed by his passion for filmmaking. Whether it’s through his lauded residential structures (some of which are right here in Miami) or via his innovative furniture design for Minotti, the fearless creative is forever on the hunt for perfection. Here, the design maestro lets us in on his process. 

You first started collaborating with Minotti in 2017. How did that association begin?

We flirted with Minotti for seven or eight years. They came to Brazil to get to know our work and, over the years, we ended up exchanging several ideas. One fine day they officially invited us to design an outdoor furniture line, something we had never done. And so, with a bit of insecurity, the Quadrado line was born and turned out to be a bestseller, and we finally became part of the Minotti family. 

What are some of the inspirations behind your Minotti furniture?

For Brasilia [which is a family of different seats], the inspiration was 1950s Brazil. Those were magical years, and this was a place of dreams. The most elegant music was being played by João Gilberto, while Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa were building the future in Brasilia. The collection is an homage to this beautiful moment. The Horizonte [modular seating system] is [defined] by a clear architectural vision: a rigorous shape raised from the floor. Horizonte is a floating island that marks the horizon of the living space. From the very first moment, the image of little lambs jumping over a fence in slow motion permeated our dreams about this line.

Your architectural work emphasizes a connection between the inside and outside. Why do you think that is?

In my city, São Paulo, we enjoy nice weather all year round So in my projects, the separation between interior and exterior is extremely subtle, often through the use of “disappearing” windows. The terraces can be used throughout the entire year—during summer nights, or with a fireplace in the winter. [It’s been very] important for us to include that multi-ambience flexibility in our designs.

Another signature of your work is the way you use light to bring attention to texture. Where does that sensibility come from?

The first years of my professional life were dedicated to cinema. I directed 13 shorts and a feature film called Fire and Passion. During this time, I learned a lot about a number of aspects I would later apply to architecture, [like] widescreen proportions and teamwork, the importance of the screenplay and telling a good story, and the incredible discovery of light, always referencing the Lumière brothers [two of the earliest pioneers of cinema]. All this was zealously adopted by my studio and can be seen in all my work. I’ve brought the baggage of moviemaking to my career as an architect.

You’re no stranger to Miami. What is some of the work you’ve tackled here?

We built two houses there, plus a building for Terra Group, and we have two more houses underway. I like Miami. I like the light and sensuality there. I also love Joe’s Stone Crab, the fried chicken at Yardbird, and the seafood at Milos. Sometimes I get more enthusiastic talking about food than architecture.

What do you make of the city’s design scene?

I see a strong connection with Rio de Janeiro. [Both cities are] very sensual, with beautiful light, and, in both, many Brazilians.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m always striving to be better, and I don’t like to celebrate accomplishments. In the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, we see how this chef, Jiro, has been making the same sushi for 40 years and he’s still obsessed with making it better each time. I can relate to that madness. 

Story Credits: 

Text by Luis R. Rigual

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