A Tiny Apartment in the Italian Riviera Takes Cues From Nautical Design

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Inspired by the region's maritime roots, this 377-square-foot unit hides the bedroom behind a crafty plywood storage system.

Like much of the Italian Riviera, La Spezia on the Ligurian coast has a long maritime history. It was precisely this seafaring legacy that inspired the design of this tiny home, a 377-square-feet apartment that was reconfigured to clearly separate the living and sleeping areas.

When the doors are shut, the sleeping areas are completely concealed.

When the doors are shut, the sleeping areas are completely concealed.

To meet his brief, Luca Scardulla and Federico Robbiano of Genoan firm llabb created a marine plywood cabinetry wall with storage spaces that are similar to the kind found inside sailboats. 

A cabinetry wall  is constructed from marine plywood.

A cabinetry wall is constructed from marine plywood.

Camouflaged within this wall of storage, the bedroom entrance blends in with the joinery. Llabb did the carpentry work for this wall themselves, and finished it with white and blue laminate. 

A kitchenette and dining room

A kitchenette and dining room

The bathroom is located on one side of the entry corridor, and a kitchenette, which is also fitted with blue and white laminated plywood, is located on the opposite side of the length of the bathroom wall. 

The master bedroom has ribbed ceilings and walls that recall nautical frames.

The master bedroom has ribbed ceilings and walls that recall nautical frames.

The cabin-like bedroom contains a king-size bed and minimalist, built-in shelves.

The cabin-like bedroom contains a king-size bed and minimalist, built-in shelves.

In the master bedroom, the ceiling and walls are wrapped in structural wooden ribs that recall ship frames. Designed to feel like a cozy cabin, this bedroom contains a king-size bed and minimalist, built-in shelves.

At one corner of the cabinet wall, a short flight of steps, shaped like a boat ladder, leads to another closet-like door that opens to a small portico.

At one corner of the cabinet wall, a short flight of steps, shaped like a boat ladder, leads to another closet-like door that opens to a small portico.

At one corner of the cabinet wall, a short flight of steps, shaped like a boat ladder, leads to another closet-like door that opens to a small portico. From here, another short, steep flight of stairs leads up to a compact, mansard sleeping loft.

A boat ladder-style step leads up to a small portico.

A boat ladder-style step leads up to a small portico.

Located directly above the master bedroom, this sleeping loft has "windows" (which, from the perspective of the living area, look like part of the cabinet wall), and looks down to the living room and kitchen.

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"The nautical culture that characterizes this region in Italy was fundamental to the development of this project," says llabb founder Luca Scardulla. "The optimization of storage spaces inside sailboats and the minimum dimensions within these spaces served as our inspiration."

A Tiny Apartment in the Italian Riviera Takes Cues From Nautical Design - Photo 9 of 9 -


Project Credits:

Architecture and interior design: llabb

Builder: Zena Costruzioni

Photography: Anna Positano