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A small space of large wonder

In our crowded major cities, it’s ever more important to make clever use of small spaces. In the case of Andreas Bohlender and his wife Katrin, their growing family a finding a way to make their two person apartment fit for three. Enter CBAG Studio, founded by Christina Beaumont Achim Gergen, who between them have worked for the likes of Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas. Their innovative design opened up a space for a family by reshuffling the rooms and installed a 4.5 meter cube made of plywood to create a hideaway bedroom for the parents. It follows the CBAG ethos: “Depending on how space is used, superimposed, divided, and familiar structures questioned, little space can also develop an enormous potential.”

How did you approach the challenge of rearranging the space?

Christine: We approached the challenge by re-structuring the apartment and partitioning the space to make enough space for everyone. Two rooms became one larger space, the sleep cube for the parents fitted with storage space, kitchen, dining and living room, which left the old kitchen to be transformed into baby Anton’s room.

Can you explain how the cube sits in the space?

C: The cube is built into the space and accessed via a door. It was important that you couldn’t see to much inside when you’re sitting in the nook by the door. To avoid this we used a translucent sheeting, so that the daylight could still filter through into the cube.

Speaking of the sleep cube, how did you manage to include all of the elements we are used to having in the bedroom?

C: We only incorporated the absolute essentials into the bedroom. The bed, bedside table, reading lamp and bookshelf. The wardrobe and storage are on the outside of the cube. You don’t need much when you’re going to sleep.

Katrin and Andreas, as the occupants of the apartment, how would you describe the experience of sleeping in your cube bedroom?

Katrin: My first thought: Incredibly cozy and comfy. It feels like snuggling up in our cozy, little cave. The cube is only 4.5 square meters, but it actually feels like one big bed and is much more inviting than a big empty room with a bed in the middle. It's our happy place! When the little one is snuggling up with us, no-one needs to be afraid of falling out of bed, since the cube is just one big bed.

Do you think you sleep better having a bedroom that is reduced to the essentials?

K: Yes, being there instantly relaxes me. When I enter the cube, the day is officially over: outside world off, relaxation on! The muun mattress completes the atmosphere. A: Yes, it’s feels very minimalistic, straight, simple, unpretentious. There are no distractions and the diffused daylight has a calming effect.

How would you describe the first time re-entering your home after its transformation?

A: It’s been like: Yeah, that’s it! Compared to its previous state, our home felt (and still feels today) a lot more spacious, bright and tidy (we have less stuff nowadays, but also more storage space than before: besides the floor-to-ceiling built-in cupboards, my hidden desk in the hallway, there are additional hidden storage compartments underneath our mattress and in Anton’s elevated floor). K: It was really awesome. It just felt so right - like "coming home" in the literal sense of the word. It's been more than a year that constructions works are over, but it's still a special feeling to enter the apartment; it still wows me and it feels so right every time I come home!

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