Shoji Apartment

Proctor & Shaw, London, 2021


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All photographs Stale Eriksen     Download Original

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A study in materiality, transparency and enclosure. This apartment renovation project is conceived as a prototype for micro-living in existing housing stock where floor areas are constrained but ceiling heights are generous.

Poky and uncomfortable cellular rooms are replaced by a generous multi-functional living space arranged around a translucent sleeping ‘pod’ inspired by Japanese Shoji screens. By cleverly stacking accommodation in a single-height volume, additional floor area is conjured to provide a real sense of luxury and design quality in just 29m2.

A king-size bed is raised on a plinth, accessed via a space-saving plywood staircase, and arranged above a newly created walk-in wardrobe. The stacked sleeping and storage is veiled behind a translucent screen of carefully framed polycarbonate. The screen can open and close to create privacy while sharing intimate framed views to the living areas and beyond to trees on the street. The resulting furniture object creates a ‘sleeping cocoon’ that animates the living space through different configurations, playfully exploring transparency, enclosure and illumination while also providing an intimate and sensual retreat within.

The thin framed polycarbonate screens are offset with a natural material palette of birch plywood and clay plaster. New services, windows and acoustic/thermal linings vastly improve the energy performance of the home.

Offering a walk-in wardrobe, a king-size bed, a generous kitchen, a six-seater dining table you can walk around, a 1.5m long walk-in shower, a living space with a wonderful three bay window, and a dedicated loft storage space, all in only 29m2, a delightful and generous apartment has been created. By designing ‘compact’, a greater attention is also directed towards material qualities, these tactile and emotive spatial opportunities are explored in the design.

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Jan 2021
  • Completed: Apr 2021
  • Floor area: 29m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £78,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Oct 2020
  • Procurement: JCT minor works
  • Address: Swiss Cottage, London, NW3, United Kingdom

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