Nix and Novak-Zemplinski, founders of the design firm BioLINIA, in their 1,000-square-foot apartment’s open-plan kitchen, dining, and living space. They had the decorative cabinets and ceiling panels CNC-milled by a Polish subsidiary of the Finnish company Koskisen.
The couple designed and built every piece of furniture in the apartment except for the Mezzo sofa from BoConcept. The coffee table can be flipped on its side to serve as a barstool. How did they test it to make sure it would support a person’s weight? “Olek jumped and sat on it,” says Nix, before adding, “He graduated from an engineering program.”
“I’m a huge proponent of lighting as architecture,” says Nix, who suggests illuminating objects instead of empty space. “Light on an object creates ambiance.” In their apartment, they’ve trained track lights from the Polish company LightArt on the Cube, as well as on the handmade cabinetry. The fixtures, which Novak-Zemplinski describes as “good quality and inexpensive in comparison to more well-known brands,” are also installed at the MoMA in New York.lightart.pl
One of the secrets to living neatly in a small apartment, says Nix, is lots of storage space. To that end, the couple built big cabinets along the walls. To create a sense of visual unity throughout the eclectic but compact space, the couple hand-carved the tree pattern from the kitchen into these cabinet doors (from a template) using an electric router. It’s more than ornament: The cutouts eliminate the need for jutting cabinet pulls.biolinia.com
Seeking an inexpensive way to create a screen effect between the bathroom and bedroom, Novak-Zemplinski and Nix hit on the idea of stacked open-cell concrete blocks, more typically used in parking areas. They discovered blocks with a more-interesting-than-average pattern in Chyżne, a town near Kraków. Better still, they cost just two dollars each. “When we saw how good these parking blocks looked in the bedroom, we thought they’d be a good way to hide clutter in the kitchen, too,” says Novak-Zemplinski.chyzbet.pl
Nix and Novak-Zemplinski made the narrow concrete sinks with tilted basins in the bathrooms. “We couldn’t find any sinks we liked,” says Nix. “So we decided to make our own. But those are the most expensive sinks ever, at least in terms of man-hours.” Novak-Zemplinski concurs—while they are happy with the way the sinks turned out, “one of the lessons we learned is that some things are not worth doing yourself.”