The real estate developer tasked the architects with designing a prototype apartment for prospective tenants. "They approached us hoping to showcase a model of smart urban living in a city with high average rents and limited land for development," explains the firm.
Completed on a budget of $35,000, the prototype apartment—named the XS House—has been designed with young professionals in mind.
With only 355 square feet of space to work with, the architects focused on creating an open-plan layout with continuous views and a bright, airy feel. Instead of wall dividers, the designers have opted for floor-level changes to delineate the various spaces.
One of the key additions to the XS House was a bedroom mezzanine, which is accessible via a moving metal staircase with treads wide enough to double as informal seating.
"The structure and position of the mezzanine was carefully planned to minimize its volume and visual blockage," say the architects. "The room is just too small to waste a single inch."
The entry level features the living space and steps down to a tile-lined dining area and kitchenette, which connects to a bathroom hidden behind opaque sliding doors. Glazed doors on the far end of the apartment open up to a small terrace, letting in plenty of natural light.
Taking style cues from the acclaimed Japanese lifestyle brand Muji, the tiny apartment boasts a minimalist aesthetic with a simple palette of white walls, birch plywood surfaces, and glazed white tiles with contrasting cherry-pink grout.
"Birch wood gives a sense of warmth, which calms people, while the white glazed tiles are about pepping up spirits and rinsing one's mind," add the architects, who wanted to give their design a touch of playfulness.
"Our intention was to create a cozy and fun living experience with no gender differences—only to serve the user's needs in a more uplifted fashion."
Architect of Record: Phoebe Sayswow Architects Ltd.
Builder/General Contractor: ShiMei Construction
Get the Dwell Newsletter
Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.