Apartments, unlike house projects, do not have the benefit of a customized façade. Naturally the common outer shell of each building is shared by all its inhabitants, as a result it is quite usual for interior design to take on the challenge of injecting a unique persona for each unit. Architect Keiichi Kiriyama, head of Airhouse Design Office, proposed a daring makeover for a 40 year old apartment, to alter it with the same liberty as a house, with all the benefits this practice may bring. Completely ignoring the original plan, with its standard square-like rooms and run-of-the-mill dynamics of a common apartment building; Kiriyama took the request of a ‘large-sized closet space’ and took it to another level. The dress room became a central section of the apartment, with every visitor having to through it to reach the main social area, much like a runway. By doing so, fashion blends into life, and I believe that the space became a place to change the client’s mood whenever it was passed by. This renovation project was done by constructing spaces through re-examination of the conventional ideas of clothing storage. The rest of the apartment keeps the prerogative of dynamic functionality...
Felipe Hess is a young architect based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He create his own studio in 2012 with projects ranging from residential to commercial to interior design. He has been involved in many incredible projects, located in the city of Sao Paulo, all adopting minimalist design. One such project is Sergipe, a spacious and bright apartment located in a 1960 modernist building. The project involved the demolition of almost all the walls to unify the space. The private areas of the apartment, consisting of a double bedroom with bathroom, are separated by a large white wall. A rigorous and elegant apartment, simple and contemporary lines give way to the illusion in the main entrance set inside a cube building, completely covered with yellow tiles from floor to ceiling. To create a seamless tile surface, Hess decided not to include handle in the design. Instead, the door opens by entering a PIN on a keypad hidden behind one of the tiles. The cube entrance is covered with shelves from the outside, and it creates the illusion, once inside, exiting from a magic door through the library. Fantastic.
Copenhagen-based Norm Architects designed this remarkable townhouse inside a deceptively rustic exterior; beyond the structure itself, the minimalist sensibility springs from elegant hand-picked furnishings. The project in hand can be considered an all-around marvel, it delivers on all fronts easily. The structure showcases assorted features; ranging from high ceilings adorned with a skylight, a transparent staircase, numerous wide windows to shower the interior with natural light and, finally, beautiful wood beams (painted in white, of course). The coup de coeur to take this exquisite residence to the next level is the well curated interior design. The white canvas accommodates the black and white objects effortlessly, bringing out the best of them for each room. This project really shows off its strength when familiar, and often overused design pieces gain new life and freshness — such as the various chairs, lamps and tables carefully placed throughout each room. All of the elements and insights above are frequently listed as essential trends on several publications, it speaks volume on the quality and success of the architect’s endeavor.
Based in Maastricht, the Netherlands, Studio Niels was founded under Niels Maier with a focus on interior design and its effects on the built environments. Varied in size, the studio’s approach depends on its philosophy about clarity, simplicity, and contextualization; this is apparent through the Authentic Mansion 2, completed in 2011. Also located in Maastricht, this apartment was designed to be monochromic with stark white interiors, highlighting the wooden floor and contrasting home furnishes. Behind the television is a hidden shelf that is utilized to both cover the technical system and provide a place for storage, which is a clever spatial move. I especially appreciate the negative space produced from the continuously white interior, appearing under the sink, between the bed, through the key hole, and many more instances. This shows an articulation in details that Studio Niels was able to achieve through envisioning a bigger picture, then narrowing down in scale—an important quality of designers alike. The minimalism in Authentic Mansion 2 is strongly apparent, emitting an elegance and sophistication. What else can a client ask for? A space of minimal design, maximal effect.
Taipei Apartment is a clean white apartment in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. The apartment was designed for a young couple by Tai & Architectural Design. The couple wanted a beautiful dwelling that didn’t require much renovation. The architects answered their request with a bright and causal living environment. Every surface of the apartment, from the floor to the ductwork in the ceiling, is painted white. The whiteness is intended to celebrate the purity of the space. The living room features a grey sofa, pastel-colored end tables, and a projector screen. Across the room is the dining area which includes a white table, wooden chairs, and built-in shelving. A wall of glass highlights the view of the city and opens to a small balcony. A narrow hallway leads to the bedroom and study. These rooms are furnished similar to the living room: white and wood furniture accented with soft colors. I love how such a simple design can express so much character. The white interior is the perfect backdrop for the residents’ colorful furniture and textiles. The stark interior allows these objects to pop and bring personality to the space. Taipei Apartment is sure to be a hit with the current and future occupants.
This contemporary Tel Aviv Flat is truly a unique and stunning dwelling. Designed by the Israeli firm Pitsou Kedem Architects, this apartment defines luxurious minimalism. The home is a large, flowing space divided with concrete forms. One of the forms is a solid, free-floating wall which divides the dining room and bedroom. This structure contains hidden storage to help keep the home clean and organized. Another form divides the kitchen and living room with thin, concrete columns. The exterior walls of the home are almost entirely covered in windows which look onto the busy city below. The furnishings in Tel Aviv Flat are carefully chosen for their color and shape. Each piece is sculptural and contributes to the architectural design scheme. I love the division of space in this home. The open floor plan allows the apartment to feel much larger than it actually is. This layout also connects each space of the home physically and aesthetically, resulting in a fluid, seamless design.
This well-designed loft renovation delivers the perfect balance of existing and new features. Before the renovation, San Francisco Loft was an open 1,200 square foot space with a doug-fir structure and exposed brick. Line Office Architecture‘s smart renovation utilizes the existing features of the space while incorporating fresh new elements. The wooden structure of the loft has a strong visual affect: the beams and columns are complimented by the addition of a hardwood floor and wood accents on the furniture. Juxtaposing the wood is the dark black of the built-in furniture in the kitchen and bedroom. It isn’t easy to transform an open loft apartment into a space this cool and elegant. Many designs do too much or too little: they overpower the space or leave the viewer wanting more. This design suits the loft perfectly: it is sleek and modern but preserves the charm of the original space.
The layout of this industrial loft apartment in Brussels is quite simple. Interior FOR has few windows and no interior walls. Designed by adn Architecture, the defining features of the apartment are two freestanding metal towers. Accessed by thin, white staircases, these towers house the bathroom and laundry rooms on the ground floor, and the bedroom and office on the second story. The majority of furniture in the apartment is built-in, allowing the space to have a continuous flow and material palette. I love the simple functionality of this apartment. The towers are a smart way to add rooms and divide the space of an open plan apartment. The white walls and exposed concrete create a clean aesthetic that match the simple design of the floor plan. Interior FOR is a lovely and perfectly designed apartment.
Espace St-Denis is a contemporary apartment located on the ground floor of a building in Montreal, Canada. Designed by Anne Sophie Goneau, this home aims to highlight the building’s raw materials. The exposed brick wall and structural steel frame were found during the renovation of the apartment. These existing features provide the home with visual focal points. The interior of the home is void of opaque walls. There is, however, a glass wall which divides the bedrooms from the living room. This wall provides a boundary while making the apartment feel open and airy. It also allows the bedroom’s exposed brick wall to be viewed from every room. The kitchen is the predominant feature of Espace St-Denis. It spans almost the full length of the apartment. I love the mix of black, white, and brick in this space. The long black counter-top is a simple and functional piece, while the white tables blend with the floor and ceiling to create the illusion of wide open space. Epsace St-Denis is a small apartment with big style. Photographs by Adrien Williams.
100m3 is a Madrid apartment, created by studio MYCC. This urban dwelling is minimal, both aesthetically and spatially. The narrow pad is only 21 square meters in footprint, so designers had to explore vertical space and build several levels, creating a non-linear path. All functional zones are connected and open to view, even the bathroom is within sight. This openness contributes to the illusion of a much more generous size. The all-white colour choice is another smart way to visually expand the interior. I love the flexibility of each room. The bed slides underneath the living zone, the office on top turns into a lounge area. Every segment doubles in function, creating more ways to experience this small space. Watch the animation, showing how the apartment functions in different social situations.
The White Retreat is a seaside apartment with a nearly all white interior. Located in the beach town of Sitges, Spain, the client wanted a bright white space which would highlight a few favorite art and furniture pieces. The combination of a small space and small budget called for a simple and efficient design. Colombo and Serboli Architecture divided the space into three areas: the bathroom, bed/living room, and terrace. White doors hide the kitchen, bathroom, and closets. Oversized windows flood the space with natural light. There are so many elegant design choices in this small apartment. The white resin floor, bathroom tiles, and folding doors all help achieve a uniformity that is still visually exciting. The dedication to white here is impressive: even the plumbing fixtures are matte white! The White Retreat is the perfect space for quiet and creative living.
Two adjoining houses had been renovated to create this one House in Valencia, Spain by Fran Silvestre Architects. Designed to separate daytime and nighttime activities, public and sleeping areas are located at opposite ends of the site, leaving the services and circulation concealed within the core. The minimal architecture defines and connects the interiors like a sanctuary that draws light into its very linear spaces. The choice of lighting fixtures in this house compliments the strong amount of daylight designed to be let it through the big panels of glass on the exterior. The designers at Fran Silvestre Architects do what they do best in this project which I found by chance while browsing through their stunning portfolio: making minimalism desirable. Photography by Diego Opazo.