Casa Kwantes by MVRDV: privacy and connection with nature
26 square-metre mini flat in the heart of London
Extra-small house with multifunctional furniture, breezy spaces and stunning kaleidoscopic effect
A micro apartment stretching over a 26 square-metre area. Well, to tailor your own oasis of peace of mind in a bustling city like London might seem a terribly harsh affair; still, a smart approach to spatial layouts often allows to optimise even the smallest available volumes.
Spheron Architects managed to create an artist’s micro-loft apartment and studio, named Urban Hermitage, by echoing the features of a remote Belgian monastery; indeed, with world-famous paintings by Vilhelm Hammershøi being a major source of inspiration, this house emulates the secluded feel of religious retreats in order to transport the owner in an atmosphere of solitude and let him explore the concept of monastic meditation amidst the hectic urban life of London.
The architectural response opted for cladding floors in natural and warm timber panelling – a comfortable solution purposely in contrast with the exposed concrete walls meant to enhance the mini-flat’s feeling of melancholy and remoteness.
Set on the first floor of a Victorian semi-detached townhouse in the Clapham neighbourhood, this modern studio allows the client “to mentally and physically escape the world outside, so he can now turn away from the banalities of life and focus on doing his creative work.”
Despite its definitely small dimensions, the apartment unfolds into spacious and functional environments, with mirrors strategically placed so to make the rooms feels airy and larger. The first unit opens to reveal a fully equipped kitchen and access to a shower box, while a folding bed is embedded into the opposing side, adjacently to a wardrobe and storage.
A selection of net curtains helps flood the space with loads of natural light and, being the only soft material in the room, it clashes with the overall bare and raw textures scattered throughout the house.
The artist owning the place defines himself as an Urban Hermit, hence the name of the project: an hermitage “where to create a monastic ambience, and to live a life of bucolic solitude within a tiny room”.
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