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Apartment as Medina by CXEMA


The apartment was designed for a young couple who are interested in interior design and art. Just before starting the project, they came back from the trip to Morocco, where they were impressed by the intricate structure of the medina quarter and inspired by the Moroccan attitude towards color. So, the prototype of the apartment’s plan is a fragment of the medina that consists of a house, a square, and a street connecting all the parts.

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The living room, inspired by the feeling of a small square, is the largest space inside the apartment. It is surrounded by a red wall, which is the main space-organising element in this project. It is a unique solid volume that you can observe from any point of the flat. Lying in the bedroom, we see the same wall as sitting in the living room, and this feeling seemed important for the internal spatial orientation of the owners.

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The bathroom is painted in blue colour, but in the mirror, we immediately see the red wall, which seems to frame the apartment. This intersection creates a sense of a whole object, in which there is a non-verbal idea that unites all space through light, proportions, and color. Between the volume of the wall and the boundaries of the apartment, there are a kitchen, storage, wardrobe, and entrances to the bathroom and bedroom.

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All the spaces intersect with each other as in the real medina. The kitchen’s volume is added to the living room, while we can see it only partially. In the concept of the apartment-medina, the bedroom means a private house. The bed gets all the room’s space and the windowsill in this configuration serves as a surface, where the owners could put the plants and books.

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The bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a matte profiled glass partition, which permits access of daylight. Architects have paid much attention to the functional component. The living room can be visually separated from the seating area by a pair of sliding partitions. Under the bed podium, there is a big storage space with easy access. Inside the red wall, there are also enclosed storage areas, highlighted with wooden textures, but painted with the same color as the wall. Large slabs on the floor are custom-made. They were cast from concrete with coloured concrete pieces, which, unlike paint, will not allow the pattern on the floor to be erased.

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We see the same colors and materials in a large circle in the living room ceiling. Architects decided to partially leave the concrete ceiling and asked their friend, artist Yura Pilishkin, to draw a geometric composition in the circle. This circle also works as a light source. The apartment has a lot of wood with an active natural texture: all the facades of the wardrobes and storages are made with wood as well as the sheathing of the radiators and the functional podium in the bedroom.

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Most of the furniture is custom-made or was found in vintage shops and restored: the “Miroslav Navratil” sofa from the 1960s, the Italian company’s “Luci” floor lamp, which was created by Ferdinand Porsche in the late 1970s and was restored by Repeatstory, armchairs, and chairs by the Romanian company “Dej” and the Finnish “Asko”.

Architects: CXEMA; Area: 70 m²; Year: 2020; Photographs: Ivan Eroffev;

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