With his modern architectural style, Marcio Kogan creates elegant masterpieces using simple cube formations and natural materials. Having won a plethora of international architecture awards including Record House (2004-05), Dedalo Minosse (2008), and Wallpaper Design Awards' first prize for ‘Best Villa' (2010), the acclaimed designer talks to Bao An
about his career, and his views on urban Viet Nam.
Inner Sanctum: As an architect, you have the opportunity to be in contact with many of the world's different architectural styles. What can you say about the face of Ha Noi's architecture in particular and Viet Nam in general?
My co-workers and I are really impressed with the radiance of your capital city and also your country. The remains of French architecture in Ha Noi are very attractive – especially the long and narrow lanes, and the vertical buildings that have helped form the architecture of Ha Noi. I think Ha Noi has potential for contemporary architecture.
Inner Sanctum: What are your suggestions on solving the issues of modern Viet Nam's architecture?
Architecture reflects society. We are not experts in Vietnamese contemporary culture, but we think the urban laws, like regulating the height of buildings, need to be reconsidered. In Sao Paulo, there are many spaces that lack natural light and pavements. But we have strong determination to reconstruct the city and, thanks to that, an environment for modern projects has been made available.
Inner Sanctum: As far as I know, you have many years of experience in the role of movie director. Does it help you in designing buildings?
Absolutely, I tend to look at things through a large prism. Therefore, I can find proportions in my projects. Making movies for a long time did help me realise that light plays a significant role in creating emotion, either on the screen or in a space.
Inner Sanctum: Can you share something about any projects that you are currently implementing in Viet Nam?
Yes, it is named Caye Sereno ( meaning "Peaceful Bay" in Spanish), which is a high-ranking real-estate project, and an investment by Jen Tuan Chau - a combination of Viet Nam's Tuan Chau corporation and Jen Capital of Hong Kong's Chiaphua corp. The project consists of 18 villas spread out over an area of 3.3 hectares in the south of Tuan Chau Island. Thus, these villas' owners can enjoy the unique natural beauty of Ha Long Bay, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Inner Sanctum: Will your style honour the beauty of World Heritage site Ha Long Bay?
Respecting the surrounding elements is the major concern of Caye Sereno. The ground-floor of the beach villas will be at beach level. The second floor is almost transparent, just like a small cube. The Cruiser's Villas will have two floors and the ground-floor is transparent, too. We are studying how to use local natural materials to create the symmetry between our products and Vietnamese style. The road leading to the villas will be made from natural stones, making it prettier as well as helping to raise the community's awareness.
Inner Sanctum: Which of your projects are you the most satisfied with?
I feel pleased with all of my projects, especially when they're for people who have a strong sympathy for my work. My motto is that I cannot build a house for those with whom I cannot feel an emotional connection with.
Inner Sanctum: Do you have any advice for young Vietnamese architects?
I hope that they will work hard and always look back at their country's tradition in order to create a future with architectural character. — VNS