An Apartment in Barcelona
By Luke Hughes Styling and Art Direction CaSA Photography Roberto Ruiz
Located on the top floor of an apartment block in the hip Sant Antoni neighbourhood, Barcelona, Architects Andrea Serboli and Matteo Colombo (Colombo and Serboli Architecture) were able to transform an unusual-shaped space into a classy, contemporary home.
Featuring a narrow central body with two peak-shaped spaces at each end, this awkwardly shaped property required a lot of thought in terms of spacing. The client specified they wanted this to be a “clean-lines project” featuring an open-plan area, a big kitchen unit, a minimalistic double bedroom and a large bathroom, all of which utilize natural light and ventilation. The client also wanted plenty of storage to ensure a clean, tidy space whilst also being practical, contemporary and cosy.
The entrance and “corridor-like” central area was transformed into a linear kitchen space whilst the wider area of the property, featuring two south-facing balcony windows overlooking the street, became the open dining and living area.
Defining the layout of the bathroom, bedroom and storage area became one of the bigger challenges of the project as they were to be located in the tight space between the entrance and the back of the property.
CaSA focused on dissimulating the reduced dimensions of the apartment so they could make the space feel as wide as possible. This was achieved by enhancing the diagonal lines of the existing apartment’s contour, and slicing the space at specific angles to amplify the feeling of width.
The architects began by defining the different intersecting areas using diagonal lines. They then created two wedge-shaped volumes, covered them in a rugged paste and carved voids within them before filling the remaining spaces with colours. For these areas, they chose a neutral palette of muted, undertone colours; a sage grey for the interior of wardrobe and bathroom block, an ash pink for the dining table niche; and a wine red in the entrance recess. By playing with different textures and colours they aimed to create an atmosphere that softens the light.
The layout itself creates a filter between the entrance and “main” area, which features a cut-through passage with a two-sided walk-through wardrobe that simultaneously conceals the bathroom entrance. The outside of the bathroom/wardrobe and the angle-cut volume around the dining area and kitchen is covered in a tactile, coarse, ivory-coloured paste to subtly define the two concept-generating blocks.
This coating is highly effective as a thermal and acoustic insulation system (created by Weber) and also covers the Catalan vaults of the ceiling to prevent any noise passing into the apartment from the rooftop.
To enter the bedroom there is a set of double doors. One side is lacquered with sage colouring whilst the other has exposed brick layered with semi-transparent paint. The client wanted the bedroom to be kept simple.
The bathroom is lined with vertical tiles (in the same sage grey-green colour as the wardrobe) and is designed to take advantage of the spaces’ irregularities. It features a wide, prism-shaped shower that utilises transparent glass to let more light into the room. All the furniture is bespoke and this includes the wall closet, which is lacquered in the same colour as the rest of the bathroom. The floors and angle-shaped counter have been designed using thin, micro-textured, large-format porcelain slabs. Two globe lamps that have been finished in brushed nickel can be found either side of the circular mirror.
In the kitchen, the countertop, made with the same porcelain used in the bathroom, has been cut at an angle at the end to create a small breakfast area with a black Revolver stool (by Hay). All of the appliances in the kitchen (washing machine, dishwasher, fridge) are concealed behind warm grey panelling to contribute towards the minimalist, contemporary look. To light the worktop, four Micro Scoop directional wall lamps, with a textured white finish, have been installed.
A number of deep drawers, ideal for storage, have been hidden within the low, bench-like furniture.
In the main space of the living area, two big outdoor windows allow a significant amount of light into the property and are equipped with roller shutters. The dining area features an extendible Cream Table by Calligaris and woven wicker chairs Riba by Triconfort. The living room is furnished with pieces by Kettal. The Riva armchair is characterised by its beautiful, natural texture and its tan leather cushions. The Boma sofa matches the subtle colour tones of the space with its mink coloured fabric and angled dark red legs. An Atom floor lamp (by Aromas) finished in brushed nickel is placed to the side of the sofa. A group of side tables also liven up the centre of the living room.