VILNIUS – A 45-sqm apartment, that was destined for mundanity, is transformed by YCL Studio into a space with an exciting split personality. The YCL team of architects based out of Lithuania have been designing together since 2007. A portfolio of interiors shows they have developed a knack for the remodelling of apartment spaces. The client, a frequent traveller to the capital of Lithuania, required a place to reside on his trips to Vilnius. Upon purchasing an apartment, he decided that the two bedroom configuration was unsuitable for his needs.
The client wasn’t looking for resale value typically sought by developers, instead a customised solution was desired. The architect was engaged to reimagine the space, opening it up with a design to accommodate either a couple or an individual. The design for the apartment appears to react to the previous configuration, offering contrast architecture in opposition to the regularity of real-estate economics.
The photos make me imagine a young Daniel Libeskind, squeezed into a small apartment and given only enough tiles to cover one half of the room. Of course, given more tiles, the design wouldn’t be as dramatic. The vivid design was invited by the client’s brief for a bold and spacious apartment. Contrast is emphasised by the design’s materiality and also the part-rotated plan creating distinct angular spaces. Once inside, the two alternate moods are immediately notable due to the sharp diagonal through the apartment’s heart.
Atmospheric images, almost of a render-like quality, attempt an emphasis of the apartment’s dual characteristics. The architect’s choice of materials was informed by the splitting of spatial functions. The darker personality – representative of the night – hosts the sleeping and cleaning functions. Clad in terracotta clinker tiles, the places of bathing and rest instil a warmth and heaviness, offering withdrawal. The living spaces are light to represent the daytime. Monochromatic tones, clean lines, open plan and a minimal colour palette make for a spacious feeling. The objects in this space are reduced to hanging lights and furniture propped up from the ground plane to give a sense of a continuous volume.
The team’s battle with the banal has resulted in an apartment that many would want to frequent. Maybe the client will give some of us a chance while he is at his primary abode and list it on Airbnb, approaching the real-estate economy after all.