Functional Minimalism

07 / 01 / 2020
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A philosophy of ‘less is more’ was strongly embedded in the concept of this residence in Shanghai right from the start. Conceived by atelier tao+c, the team explored “the potential of living in a single room within an outdated house”, transforming this 1930’s house (once inhabited by one bourgeois family, then distributed to several families) into a U-shape 42 square metres room.

The challenge was simple: how could the practice revive an original single function room to meet new needs of living. The answer would end up taking shape through the creation of a huge piece of furniture - a micro “furniturisation” - built-in maple plywood, featuring all functional requirements like shower, kitchen, closets, bookshelves, steps and conversation pits.

The generous centre-piece is defined by a densely layered composition, showcasing different niches and nooks. While the top of the “furniture” serves as the second floor, accommodating the private spaces, the ground level brings together the dining and the living room, both connected by two different paths: a wooden staircase that leads to the bedroom, and a thin metal staircase that connects the study and the dining room.

The team also ensured that the original wall, windows, and ceiling remained intact. In fact, “the function of walls and floors was replaced by furniture, which became a reduced kind architectural miniature,” they added.