Located in a residential building dating back to the 70s next to Passeig Picasso in Barcelona, design studio Nada has refurbished this 70m2 (754 ft) apartment for a young professional couple. The apartment overlooks the Parc de la Ciutadella, the greatest green space in the city centre. The brief from the clients sought to transform the existing compartmentalized apartment into a more fluid and open plan.
Working around their tight budget, the design team proposed an open kitchen and living space, a master bedroom and dressing area, and a second room connected to the living room. By applying a contemporary style with simple and coherent materials, the result is a thoughtful, connected space where different elements perfectly interact with each other.
The design proposed by the studio Nada focuses its attention to emphasize the natural light and the connection between the outdoor environment and this interior space of contained dimensions. The result is a space conceptualized towards the windows, released from any obstacle that would hinder the light flow. To do so, former space divisions where removed, except for the big load-bearing wall which has been used to conceal the service spaces.
A central white cube was constructed to distribute the different space functionalities. Erected in the living room, this structure contains a niche on the living room side, the dressing area, as well as bookshelves and storage space. Inside the white cube, almost invisible, it appears a second room of multiple uses that naturally connects with the living room.
Flow has been eased, avoiding the use of traditional doors yet bringing privacy to the main bedroom which is accessed through the dressing area. The project has considered the need for more intimacy in particular moments, not only in the master bedroom but also in the second room of multiple uses that is connected to the living room.
This has been achieved through the use of translucent enclosure elements that purposely shroud the bookshelves. These frosted glass elements also have the secondary purpose of screening the access of both rooms enabling light to flow throughout the whole space. The sliding translucent doors come out from the interior of the central white cube, acting as a lantern and creating suggestive shadows. Doors that unleash light as a revisited version of the Japanese shojis.
The bathroom and the laundry room are hidden by opaque sliding doors behind the load-bearing wall that traverses the living space.
With the common goal to enhance the light flow and minimize any obstacle, Nada carefully selected simple, clean and unpretentious materials. White colour is predominant in all the vertical elements as opposed to the continuous green paving that invades all the spaces of the apartment. Green has been chosen as a reminiscence of the tree branches behind the delicate curtains that diffuse the outdoor light.
Sandy tone ceramics both in kitchen and bathroom emerge as a common theme in the rest of the spaces of this apartment, alluding the Mediterranean character of Barcelona. The choice of just a narrow colour palette has simplified the space, it brings a warm feeling and organizes the functionalities of the apartment coherently.
Furniture has been integrated when possible in the project to avoid auxiliary pieces that would compromise spaciousness. Nevertheless, the team of Nada has selected a range of iconic items that have been integrated with ease.
The living room features a white marble Tulip table with paring chairs designed by Eero Saarinen in the 50s, a design with the mission to vanish the “ugliness and confusion hidden below the tables”. The simplicity of the HeadHat Bowl designed by Santa & Cole tops this iconic table.
Hanging from the white central block, the Eye Clock by George Nelson, also designed in the 50s, oversees the scene occurring in the living room. The Executive Arm Chair, also designed by Saarinen, brings a touch of colour next to the sofa and the Parentesi suspension lamp, an icon from the 70s from Achille Castiglioni, enlightens the bricks from the original pillar.