Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

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Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

Tiny Living Development in Victoria, Australia – design by tsai design

30 Sep 2018

New Apartment in Richmond

Architects: tsai design

Location: Richmond – inner suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Richmond Apartment

The brief was to create a 1 bedroom apartment that can also operate as a home office space, with the feeling of luxury, comfort and detailing you would expect find in a normal house.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

The design concept constraints of the existing apartment are the lack of outdoor space, lack of access to daylight, low ceiling height, and limiting kitchen.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

The starting point of the design is to overcome these constraints.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

The solution is a timber joinery/puzzle box that is inserted into the apartment, stretching the entire length of the apartment, the timber box connects all the spaces together, changing the perspective of the internal room from separate spaces to one continuous space that flows seamlessly into one another.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

What solutions were implemented to maximise the sense of space?
1) Existing walls are mostly kept in place, as well as the location of plumbing to manage cost of the project.
2) Lighting – Maximise natural light to each of the space is one of the key consideration in the design. In the original apartment, the only north facing window is in the bathroom, thus is heavily underutilised. To maximise the benefit of the north window, the wall between the bathroom and kitchen is demolished and an internal window is inserted, giving the kitchen borrowed daylight from the bathroom. A switchable film is applied to the internal window, the glass becomes frosted to provide privacy to the bathroom at the press of a button.
The slide door to the bedroom is constructed from translucent polycarbonate panel, allow light to pass through.
Together with the large east facing windows in the bedrooms and living space, and the small footprint of the apartment, every space is naturally lit in the apartment.

3) Decluttering- minimising the amount of stuff in the space, concealing appliances and fixtures behind cabinets doors.
a. In the kitchen, the fridge are behind cabinet doors, a washing machine is also hidden within one of the kitchen cupboard.
b. Dining – dining table is completely hidden when not in used, the dining chairs are also fold away, minimising space waste from furniture.
c. In the entry, the meter box are hidden under a timber veneer clad box and out of view.
d. In the living room, the TV is concealed behind cabinet doors when not in used.
e. The home office / study setup, including the study table, computer, laptops are all hidden behind cabinets when not in use.
f. In the bedroom, the A/C unit are concealed above the built in wardrobe behind cabinet doors.
g. In the bathroom, a clothing drying line that folds out behind cabinets door, designed to look like part of the wall.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

What was the design process for space planning in such a constrained site? Working out the flexible spaces and multipurpose joinery?
Identifying the priority of the spaces, in terms of its significance to its individual occupant is important.

Layering and overlapping is the key to planning for small spaces, two different function can co-existing in the same space at different times. It then comes down to detailing of the joinery to make it an effortless transition between the 2 functions.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

What was the aspect of the windows?
The main aspect of the apartment and windows are east facing, with a small north facing window in the bathroom.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

What was the approach to materials?
A simple material palette is used, to bring a sense of easiness and calm, so it doesn’t overwhelm the senses.
A simple white backdrop, with white paint to wall, ceiling, colour matched to the cabinets.
A subtle silvery blue woven vinyl flooring give a contemporary reference to the traditional tatami straw flooring and brings a softness to the space.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

The main material statement is again the timber box, all the timber finishes are coordinated to give a sense of uniformity and consistency; from timber flooring, to the timber veneer joinery and wall panels, to the ceiling, and the feature exposed ply edging to kitchen bench top. The timber look is even continued to the bathroom, with the timber texture porcelain tiles that covers the floor and walls. Black is paired carefully with the timbers, from the matt black benchtop, to black sink and taps, down to the kitchen utensils. A special design detail is the unusual application of the kitchen splashback material, besides spanning the full width of the kitchen benchtop, it is also used in the shower as a feature panel and as the plinth for the toilet.

The timber joinery is conceptually a puzzle box that is inserted into the apartment, it contains many functions and depends on how you interact with it to activates the different uses.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

The timber box contains the generous 4m long gallery kitchen, with hidden or integrated appliances to create a very clean interface and allows the kitchen to sit comfortably as backdrop to the living space. To the opposite wall of the kitchen a narrow butler kitchens-ish space is created, where the electrical appliances such as the toaster, coffee machine and rice cooker permanently sits. Above it are open shelves for kitchen display such as glassware, to the very top shelf is the bar shelf for the whiskey bottles collections, at night, the recessed Led bottom lit the shelves illuminates the shelves to create an open bar display.

A narrow cavity between the shelves and the wall hides the dining table. It slides out via a sliding door mechanism, the table then folds down, creating a light floating effect to the table top.

Within the timber box it also contains the wine storage wall, made up of series of timber dowel placed in a uniform grid. Position close to the door, it also functions as a coat hanging space, shoe storage, and even an umbrella stand. (the dowel is fixed for the wine storage half and flexible in the coat hanging half)

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

The timber box extends past the kitchen and into the bathroom, with timber texture porcelain tiles on the floor and walls. Together with the feature green wall on the bathroom wall, it creates an illusion of an outdoor space, as if you are showering outdoor surrounded by green on the timber deck. This green wall is placed in your direct line of sight as you open the door and walk into the apartment, to immediately set the mood of the apartment as a space that is organic and relaxing.

The timber box also forms the backdrop in the bedroom, with a minimal bedroom design (mattress directly on floor) the timber wall cladding becomes the bed head, a small cut-out to the timber wall panel folds down to form the bedside table. The end of the wall panel is the door to the bathroom, it is concealed, with only the leather door pull to indicate something more beyond.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

The stools were made by a local, Brisbane base company called Timber Dimensions, tsai design did made some request to amend the original design to something more consistent with the aesthetic of the apartment. It is a great stool as it folds up and can be easily stored, tsai design had custom design the hanging hook to store the stools above the TV unit.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

There also another unique furniture, a lounge chair that converts to a study chair, this complement nicely with the TV/lounge/study space combination.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

Besides the wall hook to the foldable stools, there are various other occasions where 3D printing are used in the apartment, including the custom designed pendant light in the bathroom. I needed to custom design this pendant because it needs to cover more areas than the conventional wall light pendant in bathroom, as it needs to illuminate the green wall also.

The green wall is definitely one of the key feature to the apartment, it is there to overcome the lack of outdoor space to the apartment. It is also provide kitchen with a view and is the main feature hat you notice immediately as you walk into the apartment. The green provides a softness and comfort that’s vital to set the mood of the apartment.

The wine storage was part of the wish list in the original brief, as part of the request to design a space of luxury and comfort.

tsai design is quite happy with the feeling of the space, they believe it has a understated and easiness to the design. The kitchen for example is highly designed and considered but it also has a working country kitchen reference to it, with the everyday utensils hung on steel hooks on display. Together with the butler kitchen, it is a practical working kitchen.

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

Richmond Apartment, Melbourne – Building Information

Area: 35 sqm
Budget: $80,000

Architects: tsai design

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne

Photos: Tess Kelly Photography

Richmond Apartment in Melbourne images / information received 300918

Location:Richmond, Melbourne




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