Lego fan commissions cuboid micro-apartment in Singapore

A tiny public housing flat in Singapore is transformed into a modern micro-apartment thanks to clever storage and spatial arrangements by local architecture studio Spacedge

Alex's apartment in Singapore with wooden features, grey walls and white walls
Tailor made cabinets conceal areas such as the bathroom and kitchen in this 47 sq m flat in Singapore
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‘When I design,’ says William Chan, founder and lead architect at the Singapore-based studio, Spacedge Designs, ‘I like to erase the previous layout and plan the new space based on the homeowner’s priorities.’

It’s an approach seen to best effect in this 47 sq m public housing flat in Singapore’s Bukit Batok neighbourhood, for which the client, a dyed-in-the-wool minimalist and LEGO afficionado, gave Chan free creative rein.

Given the size of the flat, Chan decided to pare down the interiors, replacing bedrooms and demarcations with a series of low maintenance, laminate cuboid cabinets that hide storage areas for kitchen, wardrobe, fridge and washing machine, while leaving functional spaces such as the shower and bed completely open.

‘I wanted a continuous and organised flow of a continuous open space with no obstructing walls and doors. Rather than having individual rooms, this was, I thought, the ideal solution for a single occupant in a small flat.’

The severity of the design is offset by surprising moments, such as a neon orange wall disc, a feng shui diktat; and a slender wall-to-wall blue metal light tube that doubles as an art installation. ‘I don’t design more than what is required and that, to me, reflects sustainable design.’

Chan’s greatest sleight of hand, though, is a bijou gallery, hidden behind a sliding cupboard and kitted out with backlit shelving, for the owner’s prized collection of Lego Architecture Series.

For Chan, who is currently working on a co-living project in Singapore and a hotel in China, this project has been a timely opportunity to challenge what he describes as the impersonality and rigidity of typical layouts, particularly in public housing flats.

‘Everything from the layout, design, and furniture to the lighting, homeware and artwork have been carefully assessed and curated, taking into account the owner’s specific needs in terms of his lifestyle and day-to-day use of the home.’

Interior of Alex's apartment in Singapore with wood features, white walls and grey floor

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Interior of Alex's apartment in Singapore with white walls, grey floors and blue chair

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Interior of Alex's apartment in Singapore with wood cubicles, grey floor and blue chair

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Kitchen in Alex's apartment in Singapore with wood finishes and grey floor

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Bathroom in Alex's apartment in Singapore with wooden walls and grey floor

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Interior of Alex's apartment in Singapore with wooden walls, grey floors, white sneakers on floor

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Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.