How do you know when a place like Marbella has joined the international elite of luxury destinations? When famous architects design homes here. Unfortunately, this part of the world missed out on the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and Eero Saarinen, but with Marcio Kogan we have joined the Big League.

Words Michel Cruz, Photography Courtesy of Diana Morales Properties-Knight Frank

How do you know when a place like Marbella has joined the international elite of luxury destinations? When famous architects design homes here. Unfortunately, this part of the world missed out on the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and Eero Saarinen, but with Marcio Kogan we have joined the Big League.

Words Michel Cruz, Photography Courtesy of Diana Morales Properties-Knight Frank

Casa Mashrabiya is more than just a luxurious contemporary villa. Situated in El Madroñal, it represents a new beginning – a departure from what we’ve been accustomed to and a venture into new territory. This superlative modern mansion is not only the first design by Marcio Kogan, one of the most admired architects in the world today, but it also takes us in a new direction of design, redefining what the Marbella villa is and should be.

We’ve been here before, having witnessed the evolution of local architecture influenced by international trends. It is a natural process, but every now and again you recognise a point of inflection in this evolution, and this is what makes Casa Mashrabiya so exciting. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about just take a look at the images and you will understand in an instant that this is far from the usual offering.

Studio MK27

There are a handful of properties in and around Marbella that are the product of so-called ‘starchitects’, internationally prestigious designers usually known for creating famous landmarks in big cities across the world – yet it remains a rare and rather precious phenomenon here. Marcio Kogan continues a proud tradition of world renowned Brazilian architects that also includes legends of the stature of Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa.

Kogan belongs to a later generation, and made his name first with family homes in his native Brazil, most notably in São Paulo, and increasingly around the world, where his work has reached the USA, Europe, and beyond. But Marcio Kogan and his now-famous Studio MK27 is above all known for unique designs of contemporary yet timeless villas that invoke the classic modernism of the 1950s in a fresh way.

What A Home By Marcio Kogan Means

Much of Kogan’s international stature as an architect is based upon his rather unique interpretation of villa design. He developed this ‘design DNA’ during the Postmodernist era, when everyone was building in a ‘neo-classical’ style, and continued to evolve it further when the trend went modern minimalist. Resultantly, if there is one thing that typifies his work it is that it stands on its own merits and does not merely follow trends.

So much the better, then, that his signature approach to villa design now gels so well with a new movement inclined towards natural tones, textures, and materials. When you look at a Marcio Kogan villa it is this use of elements blending in so well with the earth that stands out, as well as a completely mesmerising use of space, light, and flow between rooms and interior and outdoor spaces that sets a Kogan house apart.

But there is another element, as due to his background in cinema (Kogan is also a cinematographer), the architect has the rare ability to proportion rooms and frame views with the eye of someone used to creating widescreen formats. The result is a stunning window on the world beyond that simply adds to a geometry full of impact and impressions for the senses.

It is a style that clearly reflects the early modern homes of the fifties and sixties, and combines it into the rich Brazilian modernism heritage with its clean lines and geometric shapes fully integrated in nature. Celebrating simplicity and functionality while embracing its cultural influences, Casa Mashrabiya gently blends to Marbella, reflecting the tones of its surroundings.

Why Casa Mashrabiya?

The name of this stunning villa in the hills just above Marbella seems exotic, but it wasn’t just chosen randomly. Marcio Kogan is known for incorporating the Mashrabiya, a classic design element from Arabian architecture into his work, and this of course served as the inspiration for his first project in Marbella. Casa Mashrabiya is Studio MK27 design at its best, and while his style has its original roots in Brazil, it translates wonderfully well to our surroundings too.

The sleek lines of the villa look appealing and beautifully proportioned – modern yet without the starkness of a white façade. Instead, the property is pleasingly linear but also feels gentler and melds into its surroundings thanks to both the purity of its geometry and the natural tones and materials used. In this and in every sense, it is the perfect blend of mid-century inspiration and a luxurious home for our contemporary world.

Sleek and simple as the architecture is, the villa offers a surprising wealth of detail and variety, a rich interplay of light cast upon its living spaces that frames views of countryside, mountains, and the Mediterranean Sea. Much of the volume is hidden in its elegant lines, a fine example of a spatial mastery that creates distinct living spaces in a naturally flowing way, always endowed with natural light, fresh air, and views.

The clean architecture is enriched with minimalist yet beautifully styled details, such as the brise soleils that deflect the intensity of sunlight. The living room is intimate and spacious, connecting with the outdoor areas in a way that seamlessly matches the inside to the outside. The tones, textures, and materials are natural and cosseting as well as being stylish, and as to be expected the finishings continue in the same vein.

This, in short, is a home for the connoisseur. It deserves someone who appreciates the finer things in life, and above all design, quality, and a beautiful natural setting. Within Casa Mashrabiya, noble wood, stone, dressed concrete, and fine fabrics with a natural hue and feel set the tone for a sophisticated and stylish way of life. There is no other way to describe it, other than to add that here refinement and comfort go hand in hand.

A Modern Masterpiece In The True Sense Of The Word

Mastery of space results in a home that features seven bedroom suites and two living room areas as well as a spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a multi-car gallery garage, wine cellar, home cinema, patios, and panoramic terraces, and yet never seems large – just perfectly proportioned. The 1,860m2 of internal space flows from room to room, living area to living area, in a fluid continuum that connects as well as provides private, welcoming spaces.

Marcio Kogan’s ability to make every one of these features look and feel like a uniquely appealing space is the key to his fame, along with a superlative aesthetic that gives elegance and refinement a very natural, easy feel. This is a property that breathes understated sophistication, and impresses all the more for it. It is a timeless creation within the beautiful hillside setting of El Madroñal, one of the classic villa estates in the hills overlooking Marbella and the Mediterranean Sea.

Air, light, and space breathe within this villa, exuding a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere that gives you the sense of time. Time to really see the views beyond the large-framed windows, all of which add to the natural feel that pervades this house. For all that its architectural styling and handcrafted carpentry remind us of a mid-century masterpiece, this is a fully modern home.

Wooden strip ceilings and travertine flooring embrace each one of the seven bedrooms with tactility and elegance, while the Mashrabiya façade projects light and shadows into the ambience. Calm tones and rich textures from soft fabrics and finishings complement the sleek and precise lines of the design.

The private spa that looks onto the garden, features an indoor pool, Hammam, sauna, and cold plunge pool, while this beautifully proportioned villa also houses a gym, wine cellar, and home cinema, all set within a parkland planted with indigenous species. The wine cellar looks out over a gallery garage worthy of housing not just collectible cars but also fine art.

One could sum this exceptional villa up by saying that this is the ultimate expression of the architecturally styled luxury home – and we now have one in Marbella.


Casa Mashrabiya is currently under construction and is for sale with:
Diana Morales Properties-Knight Frank,
Avda. Canovas del Castillo, 4, Edificio Los Portales, Marbella
Tel: (+34) 952 765 138