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An open, free-flowing space in Barcelona

An open, free-flowing space in Barcelona


Spanish practice GokoStudio’s refurbishment of a small apartment in Barcelona turns it into a free-flowing home that preserves the intimacy of various spaces, almost without the need for doors.

The home is located at the heart of the Ciutat Vella district, just metres away from the former Born market, in one of Barcelona’s most fashionable neighbourhoods. From the beginning, says GokoStudio, one of the most interesting propositions was the client’s focus on what her home should be like: an open free-flowing space.

“The owner was keen to avoid floor plans typical of conventional homes,” says GokoStudio. “She was looking for flexibility in the use of space. A limited surface area of 50 m2 had to become her refuge, her work area, and a place to welcome friends, requiring areas designed exclusively for each function. A guiding principle was the creation of various areas without establishing hierarchies to prioritise their versatility and conserve the intimacy of certain areas such as the bedroom.

The owner sits by the window in her newly design apartment

“It was clear from the U-shaped floor plan with its stumpy legs that the home’s outline had a huge potential: the possibility of a single free-flowing and light space with no need for physical partitions. The bends of the U inevitably reduced the sense of a ‘single space’ and endowed each sector with a ‘little intimacy’”.

The main idea was to design a free-flowing space so that the owner could move freely around the house while guaranteeing the intimacy of the night-time area. This requirement contradicted the idea of creating a single space, but the practice came up with a solution: a system of consecutive interconnected spaces. The flat would be organised around a central area that would become the heart of the home.

The interplay between these two juxtaposed ideas, a free-flowing space and the preservation of intimacy, was resolved with the location of the bathroom, which is a shower-walk-in wardrobe.

The walk in wardrobe cum bathroom

The bathroom (shower-walk-in wardrobe) hinged between the bedroom and toilet, resolves the interconnection between the social zone and the night-time zone, enabling the twofold function of the toilet (as a visitor’s toilet and en-suite bathroom). The bend in one of the U’s legs ensures the intimacy of the bedroom without the need for a door. This functional layout makes it possible to walk through the shower-walk-in wardrobe in a circular fashion that provides a private route from the bedroom to the toilet.

The living area of the Barcelona apartment

A glass door between the bedroom and the walk-in wardrobe that seals in the water vapour and means the bathroom benefits from the bedroom’s natural light.

“In order to obtain as large an interior space as possible, the kitchen was designed lineally and equipped with a lot of storage capacity (5 metres in length) with two large gaps along the way: a horizontal one for the countertop, sink and cooker, and a vertical one framing the window onto the interior courtyard. One of the kitchen cabinet doors provides access to a laundry room,” adds Gokostudio.

The kitchen

“The use of colour also contributes to setting the scene. The spatial unity was enhanced with wooden flooring. The walls and ceiling constitute a white canvas backing for several pre-Columbian artefacts and works of art, which break up the rigidity of the home and provide Casa Born with personality.”

The bedroom

Photography by Valentín Hîncu


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