One could wish that the sky were the limit, but sometimes the walls and ceilings are. Working with an existing fixed plan in a small dwelling can be a big design challenge – so what do you do when there is not that much you can do with the architecture?
In this old apartment there was no way to fundamentally remodel the rooms in order to create more or different space. With little storage for modern media equipment – and no stairs for storage to speak of – .27 Architects had to find a way to make this place both feel like home and accommodate contemporary residential needs.
Building in custom furniture and under-floor storage spaces was a bold move: there is no way to reconfigure these rooms now without another remodel, so everything has to be planned right the first time around. Lights, speakers, even a video projector – all of the modern electronics in the living room space are tucked beneath an undulated wood surface raised up from the floor below Perhaps the strangest design move of all: there is a flat bookcase inset to be flush with the wood flooring as well – books are slot directly into the wooden surface and the seats are wood-backed extrusions as well.
Working primarily with wood, this new layer of functionality is warm and homey but set apart from the other tones and textures of the living area. In dining, kitchen and bathrooms, the theme of a new wooden layer is repeated in various ways as well.
From the architects:
“This project refers to the renovation of an existing apartment and the custom design of all the new furniture in order to meet the specific needs of the owners. Due to practical and financial limitations it was not possible to remove, remodel or reconstruct any interior walls of the existing apartment. Therefore, the design proposal focuses on the use of furniture as actual building components that aim at transforming both the formal and the functional character of the space.”
“The living area provided ground for spatial experimentation: Instead of selecting various furniture pieces for the different functional needs, a unified spatial construction was designed to respond to diverse needs in a uniform way. This construction has the form of a new wooden floor positioned 40 cm above the existing marble floor of the apartment. Through the creation of a series of recesses and extrusions, this new level allows different functions to take place above it (sitting, circulation, library), while at the same time is capable of covering secondary functional elements underneath it (lighting, speakers, video projector, storage). The basic goal of the design was to create a living floor that could be used in diverse and unpredictable ways.”
“The dining area is positioned next to the living area. In response to the uniform wooden floor, the dining chairs are interlocking with the dining table in order to form a single wooden box. The design of the bedroom evolved from two separate programmatic needs: The owners wanted to install extra closets and they also wanted a four poster bed. The result is a wooden plane that spans the width of the room and functions as both the tester of the bed and the enclosure of a closet.”