Apartment interior design: outstanding spaces around the globe
Apartment interiors can be tricky to balance. Create a sense of space and get inspired by our global edit of architect-designed ideas. From minimalist mezzanines and lofts that bridge old and new, to sleek urban penthouses and dramatic transformations
Bankside Loft by EBBA
This apartment renovation in London’s Southbank area is designed by emerging architecture studio EBBA, headed by architect Benni Allan. Bankside Loft was conceived as an open-plan, smart interior. It cleverly makes the most of a relatively compact surface, while creating an impact through its overall aesthetic. To achieve this, two mezzanine spaces were created either side of the apartment block’s structural frame, which was stripped back and is now visible in the unit. Underneath the mezzanine areas, the architect placed the kitchen and bathroom. The mezzanines, which feel spacious and comfortable due to the original concrete structure’s especially high ceilings, house a bedroom and a study. The pine wood used for the joinery is treated with a white stain, creating a minimalist, yet soft effect in the apartment interior.
Florfield Road Penthouse by Common Ground Workshop
Transforming an unassuming, contemporary residential block’s top level into a sleek and open, modern penthouse, this project is the brainchild of young and dynamic architecture studio Common Ground Workshop. The space, which is situated in the heart of London’s Hackney, is now wrapped in zinc cladding. It features smooth, high-quality materials inside and makes the most of the property’s large windows and sliding glass roof-terrace doors. Instilling spatial flexibility to this two-bedroom apartment, the architects favoured flowing, open-plan spaces, for both living and working. Quartz and timber surfaces, concrete-effect floor tiling and a frameless glass balustrade make for a minimalist, contemporary material palette.
House by the Bailucchi by llabb
Designed to be flooded in Mediterranean light, this apartment interior in the northern Italian city of Genoa was designed by Luca Scardulla and Federico Robbiano of local architecture studio llabb. The concept combines a contemporary approach with the existing building’s period details. The property spans two floors and the architects focused on opening it up in order to allow light to travel to every corner. They also wanted to connect the two levels in a visually meaningful way. As a result, a dramatic staircase links everything together, with continuity ensured by a minimalist palette that mixes white plaster, exposed period features and sleek modern fittings, such as window frames and radiators. The owners, an international couple working in the creative industries, especially appreciate the craftmanship displayed in the construction and details (Scardulla and Robbiano originally established their business in 2013 as a carpentry workshop).
Home for the Arts by i29
This striking apartment interior is located in a contemporary building in the former industrial area of northern Amsterdam. Conceived for clients – an art collector and a writer – who were very involved in the design process, the interior occupies a spacious, double-height unit. The architects, i29, completely gutted it to redesign from scratch. The architecture studio took the clients’ collection as a cue. ‘To display the enormous collection of art in the ultimate way was our starting point, so we designed double-height open cabinets to store most of the extravagant art pieces,’ say the design team. As a result, the apartment interior appears clean and minimalist, and features high-end bespoke joinery, including plinths and an impressive, tall bookcase. The last conceals a staircase, leading to the sleeping areas above the main, open-plan living space – which has a gallery feel, allowing the artwork to take centre stage.
Icon Wood House by Henkin Shavit Design Studio
This clever apartment interior design sits within a 1960s concrete residential building in Tel Aviv. When the client, a family of four, purchased the space on the 12th floor, the apartment was divided by three long and narrow rooms in a layout that felt dated and unwieldy. They came to local architects Henkin Shavit Design Studio to transform the interior into a bright, unified and contemporary home. The architects tore down nearly all the partition walls to reveal a generous, open-plan area. This contains a number of functions. It includes the living room, a kitchen, a spacious work area and the children’s room, playfully placed within a freestanding, timber, house-shaped structure. The parents’ bedroom, bathroom and a guest bedroom are situated off it, slightly separately. A neutral material and colour palette of greys and whites, timber and concrete, ensures the furniture and the daily life within the apartment become the highlight of this home.
Apartment BDD, Jean Benoît Vétillard Architecture
Apartment BDD by Jean Benoît Vétillard Architecture transforms an open-plan apartment with an ‘open valley’, a steep arrangement of storage and steps that leads up from the kitchen and dining space to two sleeping pods tucked away on the upper level of a double-height space. Working within just 60m2, the architects have somehow managed to create three sleeping areas (two upstairs and one below, in the heart of the ‘mountain’), a modest shower room and separate WC. ‘This is a generous, luminous shared space,’ the architects say, ‘with no walls, just surfaces that can be walked on. The project is the total transformation of an apartment that’s also like a change of life.’
Barbican apartment, Takero Shimazaki Architects
Takero Shimazaki Architects’ project for an apartment interior design within London’s Barbican makes the most of the Shakespeare Tower’s cluster of three long, linear apartments on each floor. By extending the living/dining space and removing internal walls, t-sa has created a spacious sanctum for clients who have spent many years in Japan. Shimazaki worked with lead designer Haruka Nogami, Edward Pepper and Giacomo Pelizzari to find an approach that melded traditional Japanese architectural language with the Barbican’s familiar palette of brutalist concrete and heavy timber. Taking inspiration from early Japanese Modernism – in particular the work of Seiichi Shirai – t-sa’s design pairs light timber screens, tatami mats, stone pebble flooring and a terrazzo column inserted into the main living space to act as a ‘bridge between the two conflicting languages of this interior architecture.’ Shirai often deployed the column as an ordering device and here the whole plan pivots off this central point, which cleverly retains the original galley kitchen and bathroom layout while maximising the visual distances available. Carpets are soft and grey to match the existing concrete, while the timber slats, screens and cladding is a warm counterpoint to the original heavy wood window frames. ‘The resulting architecture does not belong to Japan, to classicism nor any specific time,’ says Shimazaki, ‘It is a site and client-specific architectural dialogue in language, tradition, renovation and ultimately, a spatial drama that is borne out of a gentle, yet conflicting encounter of language of the details in a small universe, inside a tower in London.’
Athens Apartment by Point Supreme
An unfinished, lower ground level apartment in an existing block of flats in the sleepy neighbourhood of Ilioupoli, Athens, coming in a fairly compact size – just 56 sq m – and a small budget for a residential redesign, may not seem like the most exciting commission at first glance; but architecture studio Point Supreme’s Konstantinos Pantazis and Mariana Rentzou beg to differ. The architects composed a design that feels a world away from your typical apartment interior. Embracing the existing space’s rawness and the structure’s exposed concrete, the Pantazis and Rentzou worked with a range of different materials and textures to create a tactile, playful, largely open plan home. Timber and glass partitions separate various uses and heavy, brightly coloured curtains add privacy where needed. The architects employed their signature approach of uniting different styles and often, seemingly mismatched features into a coherent, unexpected whole. Now, the redesigned space includes from wood to steel, fabric and salvaged cotto ceramic tiles in a variety of colours and shades. ‘[The tiles] were typically used during the 1970s in holiday homes throughout Greece to cover exterior surfaces such as verandas and porticos next to gardens,’ the team explains. ‘Their roughness complements ideally the roughness of the concrete, and is reminiscent of an earthy surface.’