A 290-Square-Foot Apartment in São Paulo Takes Advantage of Every Inch

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By Michele Koh Morollo
A perforated concrete wall and a raised Formica platform are used to maximize limited floor space in a tiny São Paulo studio.

Working within an incredibly compact floor plan—291 square feet to be exact—Brazilian architects Marina Cardoso de Almeida and Sarah Bonanno of TRIA Arquitetura collaborated with Davis Brody Bond to create Studio Vila Olimpia, an apartment in São Paulo, Brazil, that takes advantage of every inch of usable space.

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Some studio apartments tend to have a layout that feels like a hotel room. In order to avoid this result, the design team defined distinct programs (bed, bath, living, kitchen, and dining) in order to give the tiny space a clearly residential feel. 

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A private bed "room" is rarely an option in studio apartments. However, the architects used NeoRex's Vintage concrete bricks to construct a latticed screen or wall directly in front of the entry door, which conceals the bed from view while creating a corridor that leads to the living lounge and kitchenette. 

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This breeze-block wall helps isolate the space where the bed is located, shielding it from bright sunlight that enters through the single window along the kitchenette. The bathroom is located behind the bed space, which has shutters for privacy. 

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The simple bed, which is slotted snugly into the nook created by the brick wall, rests on an L-shaped, Formica-wood platform that was custom-made for the space. It continues from the bed to become a bench-like sofa that clings to one side of the wall. 

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Underneath this raised platform are discrete drawers for storage. What was formerly a 75-square-foot balcony was transformed into a kitchenette and dining area. 

An earthy and raw material palette of concrete and brick were used to complement the wood while allowing for more flexibility in terms of furnishing options. 

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Project Credits: 

 -Interior Architecture and Design: TRIA Arquitetura

-Architect of Record and Interior Design: Davis Brody Bond

-Builder/General Contractor: Vitacon

-Landscape Design: Alex Hanazaki