One of the worst things about city apartments is without a doubt that feeling of living in a box. Most modern apartment units are essentially standardized rectangular parcels, maybe with an open plan kitchen diner if you’re lucky. And although some can be large in square footage, the point is that they’re rarely architecturally interesting, often lacking that all important sense of open and free-flowing space.
This was exactly the case for one couple living in the island city state of Singapore. Enlisting the help of Studio Wills + Architects, they sought to transform their box into a welcoming space for entertaining. Let’s see how they got on.
A Matrix of Walls
Key to Studio Wills + Architects’ vision for this apartment was duality. The team wanted to create a home that was both expansive and open-plan, to facilitate the owners’ love of home entertaining, yet intimate and cozy enough for when the guests have gone home. Their solution? A ‘matrix of walls’.
The studio began by transforming the foyer, living, lounge and dining rooms into one open plan space. A structural shear wall was all that was left to stand in the center of the space after demolition. This was rendered black for visual focus, serving as a point of orientation in the apartment.
From there, a series of gray plaster and white painted floating walls radiate outwards to create small pockets of defined private ‘rooms’ within the open plan space. Even when ensconced in one of these spaces, you’re still greeted by glimpses of the apartment as a whole.
Before and After
Before renovation, the apartment read like a series of fragmented rooms, giving the illusion of a small, constricted space. Thanks to the new open plan layout, that’s now no longer the case.
“Whilst we seek open plan spaces in urban apartments where spaces are generally smaller, there is also a need to balance that with pockets of intimate spaces to make a house a home.” – Studio Wills + Architects.
In addition to the open plan layout, a continuous white timber floor and painted ceiling runs through the entire apartment. These details further work to connect the different spaces together as one, and is important in creating flow and cohesion in the home.
Subtle architectural details were also deliberately ‘suppressed’. For instance, the flushed, recessed skirting, itself painted to match the color of the walls.
An Assortment of Styles
As well as a space for entertaining, the studio were further tasked with creating a canvas that would accommodate their eclectic range of furniture.
A classic mid-century modern Eames lounge chair, an antique upright piano and a striking collection of contemporary Asian art were just a few of the pieces the owners looked to incorporate into their new home. A muted palette of warm neutrals and wood accents proved to be the ideal blank canvas for the occasion.
“There is good flow in the apartment now. Our friends can relax in the living room or lounge, and also move from the dining room or to the balcony easily. This wasn’t the ideal apartment when we bought it, but now that we have made the best of the space, we absolutely love it here.” – The Owners.
From uninspired box to entertaining central, Studio Wills + Architects have done more than just renovate this property – they’ve given it a whole new lease of life. Though the open plan aesthetic is nothing new, its integration into this cookie cutter apartment makes for a striking overall look – especially given how it looked before! What do you think?