São Paulo, Brazil, native Márcio Kogan loves the cacophony of his hometown. The spirit of diversity that permeates this South American city allows the architect to peddle his unabashedly modern designs without fear of offending anyone. In fact, not a single eyebrow is raised (except in admiration) when one of his self-described “bold, classic, contemporary” houses goes up in São Paulo's tightly knit residential areas. “This city is characterized by the most complete urban, social, and architectural chaos,” Kogan enthuses. “Ergo, any project fits perfectly into the landscape: Neo-Classic, French Gothic, Colonial—all styles live together perfectly in this architectural Disneyland.”

The clients for this minimalist house, situated in downtown São Paulo, came to Kogan because they appreciated his “nothing exaggerated” philosophy. The approach, which creates work that is subtle rather than showy, is especially important when designing kitchens because their function has changed so dramatically in recent years. According to Kogan, the kitchen historically has been positioned as a secondary room at the back of Brazilian houses because it's “frequently used by the employees of the house” for mostly utilitarian purposes. More recently, however, Brazilians—“mostly men,” he says—“have begun cooking as a hobby,” making the kitchen a social hotspot of the contemporary Brazilian house.

The homeowners wanted their kitchen to capitalize on the trend without compromising style or sophistication. They also wanted it equipped to accommodate the well-known chefs they often invite over to cook for their friends. Setting the stage for chefs of both the amateur and celebrity variety is a 4-foot-deep-by-20-foot-long island that bisects the room. Its vivid orange countertop draws attention to the cooking area, which incorporates a gas cooktop and integrated sink at one end and a generous helping of open workspace at the other. Stainless steel cabinets with matching appliances play supporting roles to the sleek, brightly topped island.

Sandblasted glass panels behind the counter seating area conceal a generous amount of storage. Their vertical frames counterbalance horizontal dividers in the folding glass doors that lead to a cobblestone terrace for outdoor entertaining. Mosaic tile walls form a floor-to-ceiling backsplash throughout the kitchen, making it easy to clean, and Brazilian walnut floors soften and warm the room's high-tech palette.

architect: Márcio Kogan, Márcio Kogan Architects, São Paulo, Brazil

design team: Samanta Cafardo, Renata Furlanetto, Suzana Glogowski, Bruno Gomes, Regiane Leão, Paula Moraes, Oswaldo Pessano, Diana Radomysler, and Gisela Zilberman, Márcio Kogan Architects

general contractor: DP Engenharia, São Paulo

resources: bathroom and kitchen fittings and fixtures: Deca; cooktop: Gaggenau; dishwasher, oven, and refrigerator: Brastemp; kitchen countertops: DuPont (Corian); lighting: Lumini