It’s no secret that small houses, clever mobile homes, and mini studios are having a serious moment right now. And while we’ve certainly seen our fair share of extremely small abodes—from a budget-friendly cabin to a 107-square-foot loft—one teeny apartment in Sao Paulo, Brazil is truly redefining what it means to “make the most” of your space.
Created specifically with entertaining in mind, this recently-renovated 410-square-foot apartment in Sao Paulo’s Brooklin Novo neighborhood feels significantly larger than it actually is—that is, thanks to a number of strategic fixes and design hacks spearheaded by Estúdio BRA Arquitetura.
“Our intention was to make the apartment as if it were a large living room in which groups could choose their favorite corner to sit and talk,” says Rodrigo Maçonilio, one of the lead architects on the project.
Ahead, form meets function like never before.
Shared by a couple who wanted to entertain guests with ease, visibility and versatility became crucial to the function of the home. “We have a recurring concept in our production, which is to organize the ‘heavy’ part of the room into boxes and position them where space is as free as possible,” Maçonilio tells Domino.
By grouping any view-obstructing barriers (tables, wardrobes, walls, etc.) together, the now-roomy one-bedroom apartment serves as an especially productive place to live. “What interests us are the residual spaces between boxes; the spaces where we can walk, run, talk, play, rest, etc.,” explains Maçonilio.
Keeping furniture low (and to a minimum) also ensures the apartment’s strong sightlines and ample walking space.
In order to maximize square footage, primary living areas—including the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and office—were pushed to the outer edges of the apartment. While a built-in seating nook and desk along the mirrored wall help save precious floor space, the low-sitting console in the middle of the room pulls quadruple duty as an additional workstation, media center, storage area, and makeshift bar.
And instead of cluttering the apartment’s white walls with art or limited surfaces with plants, the design team installed high ledges near the ceiling to house framed pieces, trailing greenery, and other personal knick knacks.
“At this apartment, style comes from spatial organization itself,” says Maçonilio.
For when guests begin to gather or when privacy is simply a must, residents can simply slice the home in two with a retractable grey wall, which then isolates the bedroom and bathroom from the rest of the home.
In the same way, versatile walls and savvy built-ins contribute to the apartment’s transformative ways, color is used to designate specific living areas. “The plan of the apartment was made as if it were a painting,” explains Maçonilio.
For instance, a vivid blue earmarks the kitchen and laundry area (washer and dryer are conveniently hidden behind cabinets), while a serene green toward the back of the apartment encompasses the bathroom and attached wardrobe. While soft hints of grey and pine wood accents tie all of the individual living spaces together, color blocking also proves to be design savvy tool for such a teeny space.
Floating bedside tables and an elevated edge help keep floor clutter to a minimum in the simple bedroom.
And just when you thought this multifunctional pad couldn’t get any cooler…balcony and dining room become one by way of a folding glass door that brings the home closer to the surrounding cityscape.
If downsizing means getting to enjoy every meal in the open air, we’re ready to make the sacrifice.
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