Small apartment for a dancer at the Barbican

Birmingham-based design studio Intervention Architecture has designed a multi-functional structure for a compact apartment in London’s Barbican. The project was called Barbican Dancer Studio.

The customer is a professional ballet dancer. In a one-room apartment, it was necessary not only to arrange areas for sleeping, resting, and eating but also to allocate enough space for choreography. The plywood structure designed by the designer allowed us to solve all the problems at once.

The multifunctional volume is located in the central part of the room, but if necessary, it can be easily disassembled into parts and moved to make room for dancing. It contains a folding bed, a couple of sofas, as well as compartments and shelves for storing things. On the adjacent wall hangs a rectangular panel: it quickly turns into a dining table top, which stands on removable legs. You can change the volume configuration in just a couple of minutes.

According to the authors of the project, this made it possible to “maximize storage and create alternative uses of space and zones in a small area.” Wardrobes provide plenty of storage space for bedding and seat cushions. Small niches function as nightstands. In addition, the mobile design responds to the “energy and dynamism” of the young customer.

Anna Parker, director of Intervention Architecture, admits that it was very important to ensure that the different zones were easily compatible and could be quickly reconfigured. “This is especially important when transitioning from the living/dining room to the bed mode, since most likely the person will already be quite tired and the goal is to ensure that they do not have to think too much about getting into bed.” .

While working on the project, Intervention Architecture designers wanted to celebrate the architectural significance of the building itself and leave as many of the original details of the space as possible. To complement the raw concrete and wood elements, they used shades of blue and pink. “On the outside, the modernist background provided a palette of heavy materials; on the inside, we contrasted these with visually lighter materials,” says Anna Parker.

Due to the existing concrete slabs and underfloor heating, only thin flooring materials could be used in the apartment. This limitation was overcome by adding wood floors to the living space and simple gray marble in the kitchen. In the bathroom and kitchen, existing cabinets were saved and restored, and the tiles were updated with new dark grout.

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