Ever find yourself fascinated with the bone-crushing efficiency of library stack systems? Flip a switch and an entire isle disappears, while another appears to reveal a hidden series of volumes. A similar principle is at work here, but in a dynamic (and domestic) fashion.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos

Yuko Shibata is the Japanese designer behind this modest-but-effective interior design intervention. The use of two very simple non-structural wall elements turns a small apartment into a superb multi-functional set of living, working and sleeping areas.

“This is the interior design of a single home office.  This room was previously used as a residential space,” says the designer. “It was the owner’s intent that the floor plant could be changed to completely separate the living and office sections. This request was rendered impossible, due to the original structure being of box frame type reinforce concrete construction, with almost all walls acting as supporting building frames.”

“The addition of two bookshelves, each with a large door, allowed us to create a space with the ability to adapt from home to office or from office to home, while leaving the original floor plan intact.”

One floating partition wall effectively ‘cabs’ the built-in bookcases along the side of an office-and-living-room space. A bleached-wood finish sets it apart from the surrounding static white surfaces, calling it out as a fundamentally different kind of mobile divider.

Another fold-open wall creates a separation between a small reading-and-study-space and the larger zone of a surrounding bedroom. In this case, the clear visual difference (once opened) comes in the form of brightly-colored paint. Swinging open the movable portion of the wall not only reveals shelving and seating, but opens up the connection between sleeping and living spaces (also, conversely, allowing them to be divided as needed, too). When shut, the shelves blend like built-ins and keep the secret of the other space.