Sydney firm squeezes style & substance into tiny space

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Darlo apartment shows off the best in Aussie design ideas and execution, writes Jamie Thomson

It’s a pleasure to see the limited space of an apartment ingeniously turned into something greater than the sum of its parts. It’s even more gratifying to see designers try something a little more challenging than building the kind of “Swiss Army cupboard” that so many small and micro apartments become following a makeover. But best of all is finding out that this particularly effective marriage of style and efficiency is based right here in Australia.

Sydney design firm Catseye Bay rose to the challenge of adding living and dining “rooms” to a 36-square metre studio apartment in the city using only their design nous and some beautiful bespoke joinery.

Designer Sarah Jamieson’s first move was to create a wooden divider that doubled as a wardrobe and bookshelf. This two-metre-high buttress emerges diagonally from the bedroom wall. With storage for clothing and shoes on side, a dressing area is created; the bed, on the opposite side, is unseen when entering the room.

Jamieson added a stylish flourish by curving the dividers in order to better compliment the Darlinghurst apartment’s art-deco exterior.

“Understanding in detail how you live in and use a space is always important,” Jamieson told Dezeen. “It becomes critical when designing a tiny space like this, where everything is happening on top of itself. It’s important to work out how to separate functions where necessary, or layer them, and make the experience of being in the space more nuanced, and delightful.”

Other features include a window sill that extends out into a desk, and a kitchen worktop, curved to mirror the divider, that transforms into a counter or dining table, all of which combine to create a living space that offers plenty of functionality but doesn’t shove its multitasking ability in your face as soon as you enter the apartment.

As the designers say: “Avoiding the ‘what you see at first is all there is’ syndrome common to one-room apartments, this studio now functions as a one-bedroom living space, revealing its delights and small moments slowly, over time.”

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