Two Minutes With // Marcio Kogan, of Studio MK27

Happy First Friday everyone! Today we have a great interview with internationally recognized architect Marcio Kogan, of Studio MK27. Studio MK27’s projects respect the culture of Brazilian architecture, while blurring the boundary of interior and exterior spaces. Their consideration of how carefully designed interior spaces can integrate with the environment result in a beautiful blend of traditional and contemporary designs. Be sure to check out their website for more. Enjoy the interview!

Images courtesy of Studio MK27.

VT: Your work emphasizes a seamless connection between the exterior landscape and interior space. Does the naturally flat terrain of Brazil influence this spatial connection? Do you consider the material qualities of glass and use of movable screens to be important when creating these impactful, unframed interactions?

MK: The interior/exterior integration in our projects is quite strong; this could be more related to the climate than the terrain. Brazil is a very big country and even though it isn’t especially ‘hilly’, it can’t be considered flat. One of our projects, the Paraty House, was designed on very steep terrain; this project, as well as others, focuses on integration with the environment regardless of its urban or rural context. This new direction happened at a moment when we realized there was no longer any distinction between the architecture and the interior of a project. As you mentioned, we do look to materials such as glass to accomplish this; we recessed the windows into the walls in numerous projects, making the space 100% fluid.

VT:One of the beautiful consistencies in your work is the way you use dynamic light to create and highlight textures. What are the properties of light that you seek to make it essential to each of your projects?

MK: I lost my father when I was 8 years old. From the very moment of his passing, my life turned into what seemed to be a black and white movie.At 16, I cut class on a cold rainy day in São Paulo; I went to the movies and ended up seeing The Silence by Ingmar Bergman. During that movie, I found myself deeply moved as my own feelings seemed to be magically projected onto the white screen. For the first time in my life I understood the meaning of the word “art”;I left there seeing the world in color, once again. Then I became obsessed with cinema. While I was studying architecture I worked on short-films and followed a parallel career between the two professions. However, after completing a feature-film in 1998, Fire and Passion (Fogo & Paixão), I knew that my life would be architecture, simply because it is incredibly difficult to make movies in Brazil. My background in cinema has had an enormous influence on my work. To me, architecture is something seen through the viewfinder of a camera; consequently, architectural proportions stem from a widescreen view. And lighting is very important. I discovered the magic of light through my cinematic research; during my studies I was influenced much more by Bergman, Fellini, Jaques Tati, and Andy Warhol, than by any architect. In summary, my history as a film-maker made me understand the importance of light. I would go as far as to say that light is everything.

VT:Your work is distinguished by the use of natural materials, light screens, and water, among other design elements. What contributions do these distinguishing elements provide for your designs? What leads you to continue to explore their qualities within a space?

MK: Choosing materials is always an important moment in our creative process. At the beginning, our projects were entirely white; they were of varying textures, but always white. Little by little, we began using more local and natural materials, and the result turned out to be quite interesting as life was brought to the projects; they also age very well, and in a natural manner. We feel that by using these materials we are creating visual citations of Brazil and its traditions. Our architecture, however, is more than just citations of our culture. It pairs natural materials with clean design, a combination that works well and gave our office its current direction, which is: to achieve cozy environments through the contrast of rustic and precise, technological, and natural materials.