Spanish practice Colombo and Serboli Architecture have recently refurbished this apartment located in the oldest part of Barcelona, in an ancient building that dates back to the 13thcentury, in the neighborhood known as Born.
The brief was to completely transform the old property into a new vibrant flat, home of a young Italian woman, a fashion professional. The highly compartmented layout originally included three bedrooms, two occupying the street side and a third one in the entrance space and was placing living and kitchen in the dark interior of the plot.The new arrangement overturns completely the original layout.
The scheme is thought to fully bring back and enhance the great proportions of the ancient spaces, with 4m high-vaulted ceilings, huge windows, and thick walls. All of the previous partitions have been demolished, leaving only one thick structural wall, around the new bedroom. The key piece of the project and the only added partition is a thick, bespoke storage unit that divides the entrance from the living area, converting the hall into a disguised walk-in-wardrobe.
This made-to-measure, built-in storage is thought to highlight the monumental proportions of the recovered spaces. The deep blue, boiserie-like, floor to ceiling cabinetry was designed to meet the client’s request to provide storage for clothing, accessories and sports equipment, as well as other home items. Its lacquered panels’ rhythm conceals a direct access to the bedroom from the main entrance through a double door, like a secret entrance that keeps the room private and independent.
A cutout, light pink, and grand doorway of over 2.5m of height connect the living area to the entrance while hiding closet doors on both sides. In the entryway, light is provided by a minimalistic glass globe, built-in within the unit, and through another 120cm deep niche that peeks into the living room. This opening matches the opposite living room window that was previously boarded up, now re-opened above the dotted bespoke radiator cover.
The airy living and kitchen space benefits of the light of two huge balcony windows, whose original woodwork has been restored, preserving the detailed wooden shutters motifs. False ceilings were removed to expose the Catalan vaults and wooden beamed ceilings, all painted in white to increase brightness.The 40cm thick bearing wall that now divides living from bedroom and entrance has been covered with a tactile rough treatment, to enhance its thick presence. As part of this wall, right over the niche, a curl structure detail emerged during construction and has been incorporated into the boiserie panels.
The open kitchen features a rounded peninsula hosting sink and dishwasher, that doubles as an informal eating area overhung by three globe pendants with brass details and burgundy cords that chromatically match the hood tube. The kitchen cabinets are finished in a warm grey and fitted with vintage brass concave handles.Both sides of the kitchen lean against main feature: an arc-shaped, coral-colored volume that hides a powder room.
Client’s requirement was to have a guest bathroom, independent of the master bedroom. The Architects opted to the customer’s request into a standalone highlight of the apartment:“A full-height volume would have reduced the feeling of space in the big living room, while using a half-height volume would have transformed its top in a dusty, dark corner. So we opted for an arc shape, that while almost touching the wooden beamed ceilings, it enhances and preserves the full room height”, the designers explain.
The arc motif appears again in the corner of the dashboard, side by a wall mounted globe lamp, and in the curved-edged kitchen island. Both surfaces are made in a pink terrazzo-like quartz surface, as well as the kitchen countertop.
all images © Roberto Ruiz