This cozy and luxurious loft in Bratislava features just 1,022 square feet of living space, but it still manages to offer irreproachable living conditions to its four residents. Designed by RULES architects and completed in 2015, the loft flaunts a mix of industrial elements and natural finishes that balance each other out and contribute to an elegant and inviting ambiance. The industrial character is emphasized by visible steel elements in the roof structure, while the natural aspect is represented by wooden wall panels and wooden furnishings.
The daytime living areas comprise a kitchen, a dining room, a living room and a hall, while the night zone includes a bathroom, a separate toilet and a pair of bedrooms. As for the finishes, they consist of a combination of wood and black elements that complement each other nicely. The loft is flooded with natural light throughout the day and benefits from access to a large balcony that offers exquisite views of the city.
From the architect:
The interior of the three room loft has been designed to underline the main advantages of lofts – ease, casualness and space. Visible elements of the steel structure of the roof add industrial character to the loft whereas natural materials make it cosy. In spite of the trendy daytime area the layout of the loft designated for family of 4 is rational and practical. The daytime zone consists of a hall, a kitchen, a dining room and a living room. The night zone has two bedrooms, a bathroom and a separate toilet.
In spite of industrial elements the living room of the loft is cosy giving a feel of heart and home. High clearance evokes a loft atmosphere. The living room seems to be very clean as it has been freed of elements that are necessary but do not have to be seen. The stereo system and the computer are hidden in the kitchen cabinets and the subwoofer is in the couch. Only the TV set can be seen. The proved combination of wood with black and white works anytime and anywhere. The elements that are in direct contact with a visitor – the floor and the wall opposite the window – have been designed of warm pine wood. The walls, the ceiling and fitted furniture are white. In a neutral space a black roof structure is remarkable.
The corner lounge suite of grey fabric has been designed and tailored to fit into the room as if it was born there. Unlike other lounge suites this one has wider armrests with a subwoofer integrated into the one closer to the window. As a result we got rid of one not nice looking box in the living room. As the headroom of the apartment at its highest point is almost four metres it could be divided into two levels. On the lower level there is the living room, the dining room and the kitchen, on the upper one there is the mezzanine with a bookcase. The lowered part is situated above the communication part of the daytime area, so the lower clear height does not disturb the space . In the mezzanine a net instead of railing has been used.
In the mezzanine there is a bookcase with a beanbag meant for reading. The floor of the mezzanine in the daytime area consists of a grid with a black perforated metal plate laid on beams of the steel structure. The floor of the mezzanine above the night time passage, bathroom and toilet is closed and offers an additional storage room or a secret hiding place.
As the small hall and a daytime area make up one space the hall does not feel confined. There is a bench for changing shoes, a shoe cabinet, a coat wardrobe and a little shelf for keys. Night time area is separated from the daytime zone by a sliding door hidden in the wall. With the sliding and bathroom doors wide open from the hall we can see into the exterior. As most of the time we spend at home is in the morning and in the evening, we need lighting. The right choice of artificial lighting can make the best of visual potential of space and create unique light atmosphere. The lighting in the loft can be dimmed so it can be used as a strong light source for cleaning as well as a dimmed light for watching TV.
The TV on a revolving bracket can be watched from the kitchen as well as from the living room. It is not an off-the-shelf bracket but the atypical tailored product designed and made especially for this loft. We did our best and except turning around it allows to adjust the rake angle in all directions and to hid all cables.
Though the owner ́s original wish was a kitchen with an island, due to spatial reasons we preferred an L-shape kitchen. The kitchen door is matt white, the kitchen board is made of mdf. The kitchen has a hidden door into a pantry and a place for stereo components. The wall behind the induction hob is protected by a handmade Sometile mosaic. In spite of the trend of making kitchen tops of artificial stones, in the apartment we used an ordinary mdf board. You can have it for a fraction of the price of a stone top, it suits its purpose in similar way and in combination with a high-quality stainless steel kitchen sink it looks almost luxurious. And unlike a stone top, the mdf is not cold so you can even sit on it.
We have stretched the kitchen top to the window frame so it is broadened by the area of the window sill. Usually, there are heaters under the windows and ventilation is provided by cut vents. Placing the kitchen top to the wall with a window has added advantage: after opening the window the top will turn into a bar accessible directly from the balcony. The orientation of the lounge suite allows lying on its elongated section as close to the window as possible. For reading there are two separated lamps – one is suspended in the corner and another is on the wall. Under the armrest there is a partially hidden subwoofer. The large full-height window optimally connects theinterior with the exterior.
When watching TV amenity is enhanced by dimmed led spotlights on the ceiling above the mezzanine. This kind of lighting works best when one of the interior walls is lit, in our case the one with the bookcase and plywood. The perforated sheet metal on the mezzanine floor lets light through and projects the sheet lattice onto the pine plywood. Pine plywood boards 2.4 x 1.2 m beat any wood floorings we have used so far. They consist of a pine plywood boards with a tongue and groove joint. The boards can be ground or varnished as ordinary parquet. We like the wooden board structure since it is authentic and shows off the natural structure of the wood.
A dining table in the middle of the room has a dominant position and can sit eight persons. It is made of massive timber with a metallic base of the same colour as the roof structure. In order to accentuate the dominant position of the table we used massive timber that was darker than timber in the rest of the interior. Dining at a massive table with the industrial metallic base is a treat. During breakfast, when the table is suffused with eastern sun, natural structure of timber is more evident. Little cracks resulting from massive timber drying are not a problem, on the contrary – they accentuate its natural character even more.
In a loft every part of a day is different and special. In the late afternoon with lights on, the dining table would shine under the warm light from pendants. Individual lamps can be controlled separately, allowing infinite number of scenarios and ambiences. The turnable TV set creates optical boundary between the living room and the dining hall. After turning the TV towards the kitchen the dining table turns into a full-size workplace. Inventively, a computer and a stereo system are hidden in a kitchen cabinet facing towards the living room and connected to the screen by a underfloor duct. Resulting solution is visually clean without any cables. Pure tidiness is what we like.
From the mezzanine the daytime zone can be seen and thanks to its geometry and the narrow balcony we have an interesting view of the street below that cannot be seen from the lower level of the day zone. Suspended industrial lights do (not) divide the space optically so they suit those who love high rooms as well as those who do not. A typical detail of the loft consists of the black steel structure of the roof and mezzanine, pine boards on the walls and on the floor, as well as white colour of the walls and the atypical furniture. The time-proven combination provides congenial background for everyday life in the apartment as neutral and natural space where its occupants stand out.
In spite of frequent demand by young families asking a bathtub for children we used a big shower enclosure with a small sitting step. This step makes the shower more comfortable than a bath and its dimensions allow to use a little baby tube for bathing babies. The mason shower enclosure with a drain contains niches for shampoos and everything is in place.
In the simple white bedroom a noticeable pine structure of the floor is dominant. For the tailor-made bed the same textile as for the lounge suite in the living room was used. The wall opposite to the bed was designed as a wardrobe. The bedroom clearance is the same as in the day zone. Significant cubage of the bedroom means more air and – as a result – better sleep. The tailor-made wardrobe filling up the wall facing the bed is the main storage space in the master bedroom. The wardrobe is nice thanks to its simplicity and design – both minimalistic and functional. Aluminium handgrips are functional and effective at the same time, changing a common white closet into a nice accessory.
Architects: RULES architects
Location: Bratislava, Slovakia
Architect in Charge: Rudolf Lesnak, Tomas Huliman, Matej Kollar
Area: 95.0 sqm
Project Year: 2015
Photographs: Peter Cintalan