Tokyo story
Wallpaper|November 2020
Marcio Kogan draws on his travels in Japan to create new seating for Minotti
SCOTT MITCHEM

It’s not unthinkable that, after a long and complex collaboration between one of the world’s most renowned architects and his industry-leading client, one might use the F-word to characterise the other. But when Marcio Kogan and Roberto Minotti describe each other as ‘family’, it’s still a bit surprising. Perhaps more surprising is that this genuine warmth extends across their teams – even after their most recent collaboration, a multifaceted, multinational effort, delivered on schedule in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

The lovefest is likely a reflection of their shared philosophy on the workplace. ‘I saved all of my money early in my career so I could invest in creating the best environment possible in my office,’ said Kogan. ‘It was very calculated. Everything I do is with pleasure. I love the people that work in my office and they love to work here. The word ‘family’ is overused, but in this case it’s accurate. Everybody is a friend. I care about them all. It’s the same with clients. I don’t work with anyone who I don’t consider a friend. Everything must be done with pleasure.’

Of course, Minotti is a family business, founded by Alberto Minotti in 1948 and now run by his sons Roberto and Renato, together with the third generation: Alessandro, Alessio, Susanna and Leonardo. They have dozens of employees whose tenures go back decades, in an industry tradition that is uniquely Italian, and a network of international collaborators whom they consider extended family. ‘We only work with people we have a good connection with, that’s the most important thing. We have to have a good synergy with the people we are collaborating with, their culture, their passion for this job we share,’ says Roberto.

Like all healthy relationships, this one with Kogan has grown organically over time. It started when Roberto requested a meeting while he was in São Paulo, solely out of admiration for Kogan’s work. A friendship quickly began, but it would be four years before Kogan would receive his first Minotti commission: the ‘Quadrado’, a modular outdoor seating collection inspired by the classic teak duckboard used in yacht construction (see W*235). Released in 2018, it became a runaway bestseller – which tends to strengthen a friendship.

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