Apartment 36 Square Meters (2006)
Private client in Stockholm, Sweden
Article in Elle Decoration, Sweden, September 2009
Freely translated from Swedish – Original words by Tina Hellberg
“I’ve been careful with the lines”, says Jonas Wagell owners and architect of the 36 square meter apartment in Kungsholmen in Stockholm. It’s a good rule of thumb, especially in a small apartment where it quickly becomes messy.
Jonas Wagell has originated from a line above the front door which is 2.1 meters. The opening to the kitchen is the same height and so is the bathroom door, the mirror in the hallway and all the upper cabinet in the kitchen. The line follows the cabinets in the hall of the entrance all the way to home office area where Jonas has abandoned the principle and lowered the line to frame the niche and allow for more storage above. All storage space is built-in and consists of customized IKEA cabinet bases with custom designed new doors ordered from a carpentry shop.
Jonas Wagell’s apartment is perceived as very composed and calm. Maybe it’s because of the consistent lines, but also because there are lots of options for storing things. No need for having stuff laying around when not in use. To have plenty of storage was the main idea, it turns out.
It was during the summer four years ago when Jonas was studying Interior architecture and Furniture design at Konstfack University he decided to make the apartment his summer job. The building is from 1937 and the apartment hadn’t been renovated since the Eighties. The floor space was poorly utilized and the need for more storage was one of the basic requirements when the ideas gradually took shape. Jonas decided to build-in as much as possible into the walls. Some walls were torn down, doors were removed and the old walk-in closet which took a lot of space was completely removed. 33 plaster boards were cut in half since they were too big to fit into the old narrow elevator. Thus Jonas has to carry no less than 66 plaster board up to the fifth floor. “It was quite an adventure”, says Jonas and smiles reminiscing. Plasterboards were used to basically cover all walls and the ceiling was suspended to allow space for integrated spotlights, electrical feeds and more. There are no visible cables and cords anywhere and skirtings and thresholds have been removed.
When you see the apartment from the kitchen which has windows facing the balcony, there are false cabinet doors that do not open covering the sleeping alcove on the opposite side. The door which can be opened cover refrigerator, freezer and more storage. The wall is part of the cube forming the bathroom and sleeping area.
The bathroom took an entire summer to build. There is a dark tinted glass panel between the sink and shower to separate the space. This principle continues with a frosted glass panel separating hallway and kitchen. The bathroom door is perforated with small glazed holes, which is repeated in the door to the electronics cabinet where the holes served to ventilate heat. Two interior details which make a lot for the big picture.
The 120 cm wide sleeping alcove is elevated and has a big storage space underneath. In the ceiling above the bed there are lights hidden behind a box creating a soft, diffused glow and a narrow yellow-painted illuminated niche in the wall functions as a bedside table.
On the balcony which runs along the entire apartment Jonas has built an wooden deck with impregnated timber in various widths and also built a bench with storage for barbecue, charcoal and pottery.
For such a handy person we almost expected him to also have refurbished the floors. “It’s not worth sanding and finishing floors yourself – it’s actually more expensive than hiring a professional”, says Jonas. The oak parquet flooring was sanded, black-stained and oiled. The black parquet goes through-out the apartment except in the kitchen where a black linoleum flooring was put in.
Black and white with colorful accents has become Jonas’ hallmark. Several of his colorful products are available under his own label Hello Industry. His Master thesis from Konstfack in 2007 – the slick and clever prefab house concept “Mini house” – was one of the reasons why international design magazine Wallpaper* announced Wagell as one of “the world’s 50 hottest young architects” in 2008.
- Title: Apartment Stockholm
- Project: Compact living
- Client: Private
- Size: 36 sqm / 16 sqm terrace
- Design: Jonas Wagell
- Year: 2006
- Photo credits: Kent Johansson (DN Bostad), Mattias Förnell (Disajn), Stellan Herner (Elle Decoration) and Carl Dahlstedt (Sköna Hem) shown here
The 36 square meter apartment is one of my earlier architecture work, but still somewhat relevant for my approach to residential space and compact living. The project has been widely published in Swedish design magazines such as Elle Decoration, Disajn, DN Bostad and Sköna Hem - as shown here. Photo credit: Carl Dahlstedt.