French architects h2o architectes just sent us images of their latest project - a ski resort apartment in Menuires, France.
Located at the far end of a building built in 1965, the original layout of the 55m² space is deemed too segmented. The request is to realize the impossible: increase the living space without touching the structure, create 2 bathrooms and accommodate 8 beds whilst maintaining separate circulation for each.
To maximize the rather tight and constricted space, the architects chose to 'inverse' the conventional way of looking at the problem - rather than trying to fit the furniture into the apartment, they decided to fit the apartment into the furniture! However absurd this may sound, it immediately alleviated all the constraints associated with laying out tight spaces.
A large wooden curved wall runs through the entire space. It links all functions, creates a large living space and opens up the panoramic views on the mountains. This furniture-wall incorporates all the necessities of daily use interlocked into one another. Seating next to storage, stacked sleeping, a reading corner is attached to an interior window. The kitchen is back to back with a bathroom. It is the furniture element that defines the space - it is no longer cumbersome, rather it frees up a generous space around it and maximizes its primary functionality.
The secondary system allows for private sleeping areas with curtains that roll into the existing central wall. The central space is all white, leading into the matching wrapping terrace. The interior atmosphere is inspired by the mountain and cabin feel, though reinterpreted in a contemporary manner. The entire installation is treated with a single material: the humble wood. Light-colored birch plywood is used for the interior spaces and American walnut plywood for the curved wall.