Interior designer Maayan Zusman and architect Amir Navon of studio 6b refurbished a 55 sqm apartment in Tel Aviv. To make the most of the Ein Gedi Street apartment’s space, the duo have taken down the existing walls and used wood panels to divide the apartment into rooms. Almost every item, down to the living room tables, shelves, bed, drawers were custom designed by Maayan and Amir, and each cm was carefully planned including “secret” storage places.
The building is a “typical” old Tel Aviv building. It is approximately 60-years-old – which is pretty old for a country that is 67 years of age. The apartment stands on Ein Gedi stree, a small and quiet street with a view not typical of the city in its greenery, situated right by Bazel Square which is one of the most central and prestige locations of the city.
Inhabitants enter into an open-plan kitchen, living and dining space, which is separated by a section of wooden panelling from the two bedrooms and bathroom – enclosed by a pair of parallel sliding doors. Herringbone parquet in the living area contrasts smooth cement flooring in the bedroom.
“We used cupboards instead of actual walls for two main reasons.” explain the designers, “The first of which was saving space. The apartment is pretty small and every centimeter mattered. We wanted to provide as much storage space as possible and yet save the 10 cm width that a typical built wall would require. Secondly, we aimed for an appearance that was different, more impressive and smooth and we felt that carpentry would provide this.”
Benefits of this included saving up on significant space, providing a different look and experience (visitors feel the need to touch and feel the walls as they walk through the apartment), creating a wholesome look – the work area located in the middle of the cupboard/wall is custom made in carpentry too.
Though it is of a different color, the texture and materials is the same and the connection/flow works appearing as one set unit running through the house instead of “niches” inside a built wall in which another material is plugged in. An additional benefit is the ability of open up storage from the living space. All of the communications/electronics equipment (DVD and so forth) are located in the closet but can be reached through the living-room space (see the photo with the round holes in the cupboard-these are there for heat from the equipment to be released, and this section can be opened). Also, the washing machine and drier are located at the end of the cupboard/wall and though one wouldn’t know it, with a click one can open up this section of the cupboard.
In addition to the storage within the cupboard described above, cement niches and constructional pillars presented the opportunity to create storage spaces that are not visible. Such a niche existed in the kitchen and alongside a pillar hidden within the cupboard by the small office station. Instead of closing these up and “wasting” even half a meter of space, these were turned into shelving units hidden behind smooth carpentry. The kitchen backdrop appears to be smooth but a section of it can be pressed and it opens. Similarly, when one sits in the work space, the side area can be clicked and would reveal the original cement pillar with built in shelves on it.
all images © Gidon Levin