Valentin apartment / ECDM

French architects Emmanuel Combarel Dominique Marrec sent us the transformation of this small apartment, with a clear strategy: Decompartmentalise the place so as to fit out an open plan and elude the demand of an extra room by conceiving in the center of the volume a suspended white cube which generates comic and disconcerting use situations.

Plugging the bedroom under the ceiling

This former artist studio caracterised by a difference in height which shares the volume from a simple to a fake double height (3.70 m under ceiling in the main room) had been originally marqued by a awkward mezzanine under which one couldn’t be up and had, to get on it, to pass through a small doorway managed into a separating wall existing between the 2 volumes.

First step the plan is freed from all occurrences. The matter is to work on a 50 sqm apartment in which the variety of orientations, volumes make possible unusual, uncommon living situations.

The restraint of the demand of the client to fit out an independant bedroom has been turned into an advantage by putting this intermediary room in a central position, straddling the two floor levels, disconected from the floor. The bedroom becomes an islet in the heart of the appartment around which you can turn, experimenting different moods : up / down, below / above, on / under and revealing unseemly uses.

The bedroom, connoted as the archetype of privacy, intimacy, becomes an object of curiosity by transgressing his symbolic value, appearing like an anomaly. Open and visible from the entry, it stands for a huge inhabited furniture. Facing the dining room, it can be used as a “bumrest” or a bench.

The bedroom as a hut in the middle of the flat

Suspended right in the center of the apartment, leaving untouched the floor and the circulations around, it divides the space, reversing the perception of the atmosphere in the apartment by making private what is usually not : the living room.

Wherever you stand below or above, it truncates the perception of the occupiers bodies of whom one only sees the legs sitting, crossing or  walking around in the place.

The suspended bos is made of a metallic structure (section 40 x 40 mm) covered with wooden panels. The cube – as well as the floor, the walls and the ceiling, has been painted with a white polyurethane resin.

credit photo : Gaston Bergeret

Cite: Saieh, Nico. "Valentin apartment / ECDM" 09 Apr 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. <>


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    Pas mal pensé mais bonjour les odeurs de la cuisine directement dans la chambre

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    I’ve saw this already somewhere else.

    Excellent project.

    My only 2 comments would be:

    1- The bed box would look awesome in another color but white.

    2- It looks lik ethe architect wanted a “service block” appearance with eth bathrrom and kitchen, but It might look better with an open kichen and no door.

    Still excellent project.

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    nice. but i dont know if i could enjoy laying in bed while looking into the kitchen…

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    the floating box is great, but jon is right, why would you want to look at your kitchen, while laying in bed?

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like this project a lot…it’s so clean and white. The bed should not look at the kitchen though. Maybe they could put in a cool curtain or something.

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    I love this one. The bedroom looks like a diorama in a museum. The space underneath looks like it’d be a cozy space once you got comfortable with having a massive box hanging over you. Love the collection of Hella Jongerius vases and the “shadow” side table, too.

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    ECDM is a great office from France. Sometimes they go too much into design, but I do like this appartment project, although I would have brought out some paint pretty quick.

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    Awesome furniture and light fixtures! The box idea is cool, yes, not good looking into the kitchen.

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    I can’t stop looking at these pics. Extremely good use of such a small area. I might copy this design for my own apartment one day.

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