Micro Apartment Friedrichshain, Berlin

This 36sqm/388sqft home is in the trendy Berlin neighbourhood of Friedrichshain, designed by architect Paola Bagna. The client had a clear idea of how he wanted to use the apartment. His passion for cooking, art, and music needed to be catered for in a design that, despite the size limitations, allowed him to pursue them.

Influenced by her love of Japanese design and the furniture of American artist Donald Judd, Bagna had a blank canvas to create from, the floor plan was adjusted to where the original kitchen became a bedroom, and the living room became the kitchen. Everything else remained in its place.

A simple bench greets guests at the entrance, a place to sit, remove their shoes, and store them within the bench. A clothes rack on the wall provides further storage for bulky winter coats. A large mirror provides further utility to this space, allowing for a final ‘outfit check’ before exiting into the stylish neighbourhood.

Natural light is invited into the home through two windows and casts light into the living areas highlighting the bespoke sofa, chair, corner shelf, and coffee tables made from MDF and finished in sand grey, red beret, and black. The sofa can be converted into a daybed and can double as a guest bed when required.

The kitchen is ‘L’ shaped and combines an integrated dining table that seats up to four people. Finished in all black, the kitchen provides a bold contrast to the living area. It provides plenty of storage and features an induction hob, oven, range hood, and a washing machine to the side.

The countertop, backsplash, cabinets, and power sockets are also finished in all black. Light is generated for the dark area via a pendant lamp which illuminates the space during dining.

The Japanese Shoji-inspired main sleeping area is behind a curtain which allows light to penetrate to cast interesting silhouettes while maintaining privacy. A 70cm high raised platform has been built from MDF and sits below the window. Steps can be pulled out to allow easier access to the bed, storage is available under the bed and inside compartments. Further ambient lighting is provided by two delicate lamps.

The bathroom is situated by the entrance to the apartment and is tiled with a textured, concrete look. White, bevelled tiles give a tectonic character to the walls and help amplify light in different directions.

The generous floating vanity has plenty of storage with an open area for bath towels and houses a rectangular sink with a large mirror on the wall. A skylight allows the bathroom to have natural light, despite being in the middle of the apartment.

Bagna’s clever use of space in this home means that all the needs of the owner have been met.

To achieve good results, it is very important to survey the existing space, as each centimetre counts in this type of project. With climate change being one of the biggest challenges, the design and construction industry has a responsibility to think of new ways to renovate existing spaces using sustainable materials. They also need to think about building circular, naturalizing, re-thinking the ways we live, and providing ideas and solutions to the current and future society.

Paola Bagna

Images by Liz Eve