Renowned inside and outside the architectural industry for his firm, clean lines and volumes to create architecture that intelligently maximises light, space and flexibility, it was exciting to see what living space Architects Simon Grech and Elisa Camilleri would make for themselves. Initially, this corner Valletta property comprised two separate properties connected through a steel staircase.
The architects wanted to create a flexible space accommodating different tasks or functions. They made a moveable wall that allows the apartment to become completely three-dimensional.
With this moving wall made of gypsum and steel, the apartment can become one whole open space when entertaining or closed up to form a bedroom. It also becomes a projection wall when the couple wants to relax and watch a film in the evenings. The steel beams that replace the former walls form a steel cornice, which creates a play of angles, keeping the architectural intervention visible and defined.
Prominent in the living area is a large plywood modular wall, which cases a comfortably sized murphy bed, along with ample storage space. Here, blocks from the wall can completely disconnect and be flipped around to serve as side tables or stools.
The kitchen is also flexible so that it can open up to a fully-fledged and functional workspace and completely closed, forming a black box. The striking custom-made island (by Simon & Elisa) is based on the primary steel details of Jean Prouvé’s furniture design, whose signature product design is the transference of industry to architecture.
In keeping with this dynamic apartment constantly in motion is the furniture on movable wheels – all can be configured according to the function needed. Even the sofa was retrofitted with wheels to ease its facility of mobility.
Simon: ‘The apartment is fun and works like a game or puzzle. Bringing in the element of jocularity and creating a space that can double up as an entertainment area was important to us.’
One of the space’s fortes is its airy and openness, with louvred windows that can be opened wide to bring in light and create natural ventilation, or closed when privacy is needed.
The material palette was kept restricted, accented by blocks of colour introduced through furniture.
Steel is a key material used throughout the apartment, forming the staircase, sliding wall, kitchen island and vanity. Meanwhile, cement/concrete creates the two main floor types that define different spaces and use. Bare monolithic concrete floors are used in the open plan areas, while cement-patterned tiles represent the ancillary rooms, such as the hallways and bathrooms.
Elisa: ‘We chose sharp, geometric floor tiles for their three-dimensional effect, the angles of which echo throughout the house – from the sharp steel railing to the concrete cantilevered edge.’
This intelligent design made the maximum storage space possible while the apartment adapts and transforms to suit the occasion. It’s clever, functional, and looks fantastic.