Rotated Volumes Cleverly Maximize Space in a Tiny Shanghai Apartment
Ironically, thinking outside the box led the Chinese design firm to spatially reorganize the home using four box-like volumes.
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To prevent these volumes from blocking sight lines and to create a more spacious feel, the designers have cleverly rotated the structures by 10 degrees—a feature that inspired the project’s name, 10 Degree House. The angled volumes also have rounded edges to reduce their visual heft.
"The apartment changed from a space consisting of a regular room to a flowing space consisting of continuous space outside one box," explains the firm. "The yellow kitchen cabinet is the center of the entire flowing space. This change eliminates the sense of depression and also expands the space."
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Storage is hidden throughout the apartment and lighting is recessed in several areas to avoid visual clutter. Bright pops of color and curated textual elements add interest back into the minimalist design.
Mirrors have also been used to create the illusion of spaciousness. Because the Chinese culture has several superstitions related to mirrors, the team has carefully positioned the mirrors in a way to avoid "interference in daily life."
Some of the original concrete pillars and walls have been deliberately left exposed to draw attention to the building’s past. The extant pillars also serve as a reference point to the volumes’ 10-degree rotation.
"While respecting the nature of space, we magically enlarged the space through creative and practical design methods."
Architecture & Design: TOWOdesign
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