Modern apartments featuring lots of rounded corners and glass walls, born from an old flat, make for a unique property in Madrid. The three luxury apartments carved from the old space were a design challenge for the architects, Fast and Furious Production Office. They wanted to show how an investment property could be done in a modern and creative design. The result is a set of apartments that are light filled and airy, despite their long, narrow footprint.
Working to disprove the adage “the more originality, the less chance of success in the market,” Fast and Furious came up with a design for all three apartments that highlights the finishing, arrangement and design of the space. They viewed the transformation of the 15o-square-meter-space as a creative endeavor that would show that this “so-called Aesthetics of Capitalism” could co-exist with innovative design.
Two basic concepts underlie the design in all three of the apartments. First is the diagonal arrangement of the two glass rooms in the space: The bedroom and the bathroom. Each of those spaces is enclosed by 4-millimeter thick glass walls that are highlighted with architectural metal framing. The second concept is how the space is defined by the convex corners, even in the kitchen, on the cabinets and on the glass walls.
The diagonal arrangement of the bathroom and the bedroom make the living space seem larger and the angled placement of the sofa and chairs increase the useable space. A glass table and chairs sit in the corner by the bedroom, making the most of a spot that is out of the main flow of the apartment. Repeated use of glass maintains the light and open feeling and is enhanced by the inclusion of lighting inside the cove ceiling. The raised element heightens the space and the lack of hanging fixtures eliminates visual clutter.
The bathroom is also a glass-enclosed space, but this time it is frosted glass for privacy. The repetition of the rounded space is a wonderful design element that helps the flow of the apartment. If all of these were standard walls, the apartment would feel much smaller and boxy, with the bathroom and bedrooms feeling like closed off spaces. Instead, the design allows light into both rooms and is much more pleasant.
The linear design of the kitchen is done in a sleek white style to minimize clutter and maintain a wide-open feel. Here the end of the counter and cabinets also sport a rounded edge. All but the sink, microwave and cooktop are concealed behind cabinetry and the liberal use of mirrors on the perpendicular wall and the backsplash create an illusion of a larger room. Each of the elements in the apartment is modular and helps define the various portions of the home.
Because of the glass walls and limited space, storage is at a premium. Here, the problem is solved with a large unit of cupboards that match the kitchen for a good deal of flexible storage. Whether the storage space is used to hide away items for the kitchen, bedding or clothing is up to the residents. Concealed lighting on top of the kitchen cabinets and closet units provides attractive, ambient light for the area. The wide-open area can be used in many ways.
With only one large window, bringing natural light through the apartment is a challenge. These apartments have a mirrored wall with a door at the opposite end from the window and the reflection enlarges the space and reflects the light. A white color palette in the kitchen also enhances the brightness as does the pale wood floor, which also adds some warmth.
While the frosted glass of the bathroom walls adds privacy, the toilet room is behind the only solid interior wall. Finished in white and positioned against the mirrored entry wall, the solid surface does not create a visual barrier in the apartment as a whole. Strategically placed potted greenery adds a touch of nature and an added screen in front of the shower section of the bathroom. Again, the curved door and its placement at the corner conserve space since the door swings into the open traffic area of the apartment where nothing else would be placed anyway.
Bathroom space is surprisingly plentiful, with a separate toilet room, full shower and ample vanity area with mirror. Lighting is confined to the walls or is recessed, as it is throughout the apartment, making the area feel open and uncluttered. Sophisticated tile patterning in a herringbone is paired with a more random, natural stone flooring style, which come together in a very stylish and functional bathroom.
Similarly designed, this unit has a slightly different configuration. The major elements such as the glass walls and use of mirrors to visually expand the space remain consistent. Here, there is no fireplace in the apartment, so it is possible to have a different arrangement of furniture and a rug to delineate the living room space in a more definitive way.
For privacy and to block light for sleep, the front window is fitted with vertical blinds that extend ceiling to floor and wall to wall. This provides an unbroken plane for the front window rather than breaking up the surface with any other type of window treatment, which would add visual clutter to the otherwise streamlined apartment. The glass table is paired with a mix of chairs that add a more casual feeling.
Even the choice of furnishings is strategic for maintaining a light and uncluttered visual aesthetic. Chairs have streamlined legs and a modern, but not imposing silhouette, and the table’s hairpin legs add dimension without weight. The drop-in plant feature in the center of the table offers another way to add greenery, without extending too high up in the space.
The third unit has nearly identical decor, but a sedate sage-colored sofa substitutes for the bold red one. The animal print rug is the sole statement piece and becomes the focal point.
The unusual design elements used in the three luxury apartments demonstrate how it is indeed possible to create light, bright and airy living spaces that have only one window. Thinking inside the box — in this case the glass box — yielded an innovative and creative design solution.