A communist studio apartment refurbishment by PRAKTRIK
The flat is located in a typical large-panel system building in Sofia. It consists of one multifunctional room, that operates as a living room and a bedroom at the same time, a kitchen, a bathroom, a corridor, and a large balcony divided into glazed and unglazed parts. This kind of buildings are very restrictive in terms of rearrangements because all walls are made of reinforced concrete and most of them are load-bearing; moreover, the budget did not allow replacement of the interior doors.
The goal of the refurbishment was to turn the apartment into a place appropriate for young people, providing enough flexibility at an affordable price. The decision was to turn all of the immovable “heritage” – walls, ceilings, floors, and doors, together with the appliances, into a passive achromatic background, emphasizing the flexible assemblable wooden furniture and lighting. The flexibility is enhanced by the possibility of combining the modules from the different rooms, turning the whole flat into a tricky human-scale tetris game, inspiring the name of the project which is a combination of “tetris” and “tricks”.
The biggest challenge was the main room which is supposed to accommodate many different functions – not only connected to working and sleeping but also to different social activities – from having dinner with friends to drinking tea and playing board games in more relaxed atmosphere. This requirement necessitated the adaptation of the bed to functions different from sleeping. It is the biggest furniture in the room and using it only as a bed would not leave space for placing sofas and low tables for example. The solution was to make it modular using five benches – three standard VBT and two standard VIB with backrests at the ends. The parquet flooring is not slippery providing enough friction and keeping the five modules together. The upholstery was designed in a way allowing transformations – from mattress to cushions. The rest of the furniture in the room follows the same dual-use concept, providing a lot of functional combinatorics.
The kitchen has a classic furniture arrangement typical for this kind of apartments, nevertheless the worktops are also assemblable and independent from the appliances, giving the possibility of rearrangements. The cabinets are also modular and equal to the ones in the corridor, bringing even more flexibility. They look decorative but their shape is actually very constructional and tectonic, providing a huge number of possible arrangements and assemblies. Their mobility is facilitated by the battens on which they are hung, eliminating the necessity of fastening them directly to the walls.