Garden of Hidden Delights: Architect Marcio Kogan tucks a studio devoted to food photography within an industrial-style shell and expands its possibilities with a wall that opens to a secret courtyard.
Located in São Paulo's Vila Olimpia neighborhood, Studio SC is a temple to food, or, more precisely, to food photography. It is also the ultimate expression of Brazil's current economic prosperity, and epitomizes a city where eating well is a serious business. Though it is primarily a working photo studio, the facility is also used for staging receptions and food demonstrations by and for the Paulista glitterati—including celebrity chef Alex Atala of the city's top-rated restaurant D.O.M.—in a luxurious setting where garden, interior, and roof terrace converge seamlessly.
The studio, designed by São Paulo–based architect Marcio Kogan and his firm, Studio MK27, is housed within a white metal shell inspired by the neighborhood's industrial past. The building's minimalist street facade provides a surprising counterpoint to the exquisitely detailed materials within. When visitors arrive, they are typically directed to a discreet double security door by a voice from an intercom—a reminder that São Paulo is a city where much takes place behind secure walls. They enter into a beautiful and boldly landscaped courtyard that runs the full length of the 143-foot-long site. Realizing that photography studios do not need windows, the architects cleverly opted for a narrow, 41-foot-wide single-aspect building that opens along its entire north side to embrace the 25-foot-deep garden, which is more an outdoor room than an ancillary space. A large gate in the street wall swings in to welcome guests (and deliveries) directly into the garden for gala events.