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Apartment PS60
Prize of the “Interior Space Architecture / Interior Residential Design” section

Apartment PS60

Authors: arh. Bogdan Rusu, arh. Andrei Patriche, arh. Anamaria Pircu
Firm: VATRAA

Collaborators:
Builder: SC Bazalt Construct SRL

Authors’ Comment

INTRODUCTION

Occupying the entire first floor of a 1990’s apartment block situated in a quiet area of Bucharest, the Apartment PS60 combines contrasting features as dark and light, cold and warm, textured and smooth or unique and banal in a balanced composition, developed in close relation to the context and tailored to the client’s personality.

INTERNAL LAYOUT

The first design ideas came as a reaction to the constraints and the qualities identified in the old apartment. The pre-existing day and night zone separation occupying opposite sides facing West respectively East left room for a long, dark and narrow link corridor in between, but with a special atmosphere given by the natural light captured at its ends.

Our first design move was to completely open the kitchen to this corridor, in order to enlarge the circulation space and to invite the natural light towards the core of the apartment. As a result, the kitchen now occupies a special place in the heart of the space, becoming a reflection of the client’s passion for mixing cooking activities with social interaction with their guests.


MATERIALS AND FINISHES

The choice of materials and finishes brings specificity to the project, by anchoring it into its real, immediate context. The original structure of the apartment block – the concrete structure and the brick external walls - have been completely stripped of the existing plaster to reveal the true construction materials behind.

To highlight the expressivity of the revealed concrete and brick, the rest of the finishes had to be deliberately simple: white walls in minimalist lines create a neutral background for the textured fabric of the building, while the natural wood flooring brings back the desired warmth in the composition.

BESPOKE JOINERY

Crafted by local joiners and designed by VATRAA uniquely for this project, a series of bespoke solid oak furniture pieces complete the design at a detail level. These personalised objects sometimes become 'la piece de resistance’ when perceived against a minimalist background, while other times bringing tension into the composition when confronted with the strong character of the concrete.

The design of the dining table, bench or coffee table follows very simple lines, that stay in contrast with the organic texture of the solid oak. At a closer look, each piece is detailed with care, testing the technical possibilities of the material, while highlighting its beautiful imperfections.

BESPOKE LIGHTING OBJECTS

Due to client’s sensibility to direct light, the artificial lighting is hidden in recessed niches behind the internal finishes. Exceptions make a series of bespoke pendant lamps, designed to bring personality to space through subtle details, materialised in warm and expressive materials like oak and leather.

CONCLUSION

We based the design on a series of dichotomies as cold and warm, textured and smooth or banal and unique, that highlight the beauty of expressive materials as concrete, brick, wood or leather. This strategy was used from the big picture to the smallest details, from general finishes to bespoke pieces of joinery and lighting, to offer a continuous experience of discovery. Through a carefully controlled hierarchy in composition, your attention is always focused on a dominant element. With each step, the focus point changes gradually, making space for other objects to enter the stage and tell their own story.

Jury Comments

The project is characterized by a smart and sensible way in which it deals with and transforms the pre-existing. The passion for drawing was pushed to the limits. Everything was carefully designed, detailed, even the furniture, and when it is so, the spaces became coherent and therefore timeless. The project shows an excellent balance between the different textures, colors, materials and all of them revealed by a poetic control of the light, whether natural or artificial.