When a young couple approached São Paulo architect Marcio Kogan to renovate an apartment in one of the city’s most exclusive residential buildings, a rare opportunity presented itself. The existing interiors were a pastiche of classical French style that was all the rage among the city’s elite when the property was completed half a century ago, fallen out of favor with succeeding generations.
The team at Kogan’s Studio MK27 was given permission to start with a blank slate. “The only thing the clients asked for was an apartment in light oak. Otherwise, they were open to a totally new adventure,” says Diana Radomysler, the firm’s director of interior design. And so the team, which along with Kogan and Radomysler was led by architect Luciana Antunes, gutted the unit, replacing the overly fussy imitations of an imagined 16th-arrondissement Paris, fleur-de-lis wallpaper and all, with an altogether cleaner approach that fills the flat with more light and greater space.
Light oak clads the entry (1) and most of the residence, complementing Studio MK27–designed armchairs by Minotti in the living room (top of page), and a Studio Drift chandelier over the dining table (2). Photos © Fran Parente, click to enlarge.
The success of this approach is immediately apparent at the entrance of the apartment. The foyer, its floor, walls, and ceiling all clad in oak paneling, introduces the visitor to the long horizontal lines that Kogan values in his projects. In doing this, he has created an ideal setting for the display of the clients’ burgeoning art collection, the only other consideration they had in discussing the project with the design team.
This entrance area immediately leads into the unit’s main social space, which runs along two thirds of the building’s front-facing elevation that, beyond a generous terrace, overlooks the gardens of one of São Paulo’s best-known museums, the Museu da Casa Brasileira (Brazilian House Museum). With sheer beige linen curtains softening the tropical sunshine, this large living room flows at one end into a dining room and at the other an office, its light tones further emphasized by the neutral hues of woolen rugs from Belgian maker B.I.C.
A gallery showcases the owners’ art collection. Photos © Fran Parente
It is in these public rooms that the team used to greatest effect the free rein given by the clients to deliver interiors that mix new and vintage, local and international. The light oak creates a clean, minimalist setting that is the perfect platform for the project’s ambitious design proposal. “One of our main inspirations is Japanese postwar architecture,” says Kogan, a longstanding admirer of and frequent visitor to Japan. The living room’s Daiki armchairs, designed by Studio MK27 for Minotti, are a tribute to Yoshiro Taniguchi’s iconic Hotel Okura in Tokyo, which Kogan visited before its demolition in 2015. It is almost a local touch in a city that’s home to the world’s largest Japanese diaspora, which has so influenced São Paulo’s urban culture. In the dining room, the centerpiece is a stunning light fixture—more like an installation—by Amsterdam-based Studio Drift, a first collaboration between the Dutch designers and Studio MK27. The piece fuses real dandelion seeds with LED lighting in a delicate geometric structure.
The private areas of the apartment are accessed by two hallways that lead away from the main entrance. The first of these goes past a second, more intimate, family room toward the kitchen. The less onerous demands made by the new, younger residents for staff and service quarters also allowed more of the apartment’s 8,000 square feet to be devoted to the family’s living space. The redesigned floor plan reduced the area previously given over to services—almost a third of the unit—allowing for the addition of a spacious children’s playroom and a gym.
The gallery leads to primary suites (3 & 4), bedrooms, and family areas like the kitchen and playroom (5). Photos © Fran Parente
The other hallway connects to the apartment’s four bedrooms, the doors to which are hidden in the corridor’s oak-paneled walls in order to maintain Kogan’s long, clean lines. The corner primary suite also overlooks the museum gardens and comes with his-and-her grooming suites, the bathrooms of which are clad in white-veined Calacatta Oro marble. These individual suites double as the property’s most intimate living spaces, private dens for solitude. For quiet contemplation and reading, his dressing area features a lounge chair by Charles and Ray Eames, complemented by a two-level side table and floor lamp by local designer Jader Almeida, whose work features most extensively throughout the apartment.
The result of all this is the transformation of a dated residence into one that is contemporary and more suitable for an active 21st-century family. Studio MK27 marries its signature lightness of touch to that of an international style that has long been prized in Brazil’s most cosmopolitan city.
Click plan to enlarge
Studio MK27 — Marcio Kogan, principal in charge; Diana Radomysler, interior design director; Luciana Antunes, project architect
PHI Engenharia de instalações
Foco ld (lighting design); Marvelar e Arali (woodwork); Julio Vidal (management); Fabio Oguri (audio/video); Gif Engenharia e Iluminação (controls); Logiproject (air-conditioning)
8,000 square feet
Minotti, Molteni, Flexform, Sollos, Espasso, BassamFellows, GUBI, Herman Miller, Moroso, Artek
Studio Drift, Oluce, Kalmar, Noguchi
Plumbing Fixtures & Fittings:
Ex.t; CEA; Docol