An austere and restrained décor is handled deftly to move on from a cold and bold appeal to a stylish and cosy feel in this loft inspired, industrial themed apartment.
The moment one mentions ‘industrial’, the image that comes up in our minds is of stark, steel clad places that are far from cosy. Well, you will definitely be proved wrong when you step into this capacious apartment designed by Warsaw-based architectural studio Soma Architekci in Mokotów, Poland. The spaces in this 150 square metre apartment juggle spartan decor and homely warmth with natural ease and very easily become a testament to the architects’ success.
Before commencing on the project, to help decide a theme, the architects showed the owners several photographs of American and European lofts. This was followed by a series of discussions; a conclusion was finally reached and the final theme amalgamated industrial style and the owner’s personality and manifested itself as a hip and stylish home. Say the architects, “The owners wanted to reflect in the apartment design their independent way of thinking.” Hence included into the décor were furniture and art pieces collected by them over the years; this clearly added to the bespoke factor.
When you step into the house, the first volume to greet you is the living room integrated with the dining area and sun-room in an open plan highlighting the spaciousness of the house. Here white surfaces, pre-aged oak flooring and steel furniture work in tandem to bring in the industrial spirit the designers so sought.
Livening up the plain look is a book shelf running the length of the wall, a blue sofa previously owned by the owners and pretty blue curtains. Lighting, whether man-made or natural, is an important feature that gives character to the décor through subservient participation.
The rest of the furniture is bare with no trace of plush comforts, echoing the very down to earth theme of the apartment. The designers mention, “All the chosen furniture was made from natural materials. The long book-stand is made of steel and green wenge-wood shelves and the coffee table is made of concrete. There are only steel and aluminium chairs, lamps and cabinets in the main living space.”
Traipsing through the rooms, one cannot miss the material textures and qualities which are as raw as practically possible. “We proposed to use only austere materials: solid concrete, exposed white brick, a rough oak-wood floor and understated white and grey colours,” say the architects.
While oak board flooring carpets the living room and bedrooms, it is replaced by concrete in the kitchen, where it is all about material textures. Wood, steel, a white exposed brick wall and concrete floor march in rhythm with the laconic furniture and light features hanging from the ceiling. Consequently in the large separate kitchen, the dialogues and chemistry between various elements provides a capricious equation that vivifies the austere volume.
One of the most distinctive aspects of the design is the use of artificial light features, in simple designs and made out of steel or aluminium which predominantly characterise the loft design. Complimenting these yellow lights are the large windows that fill the home environment with natural light, bringing in more warmth.
In the master bedroom, which is carpeted with oak boards and walled in white exposed brick masonry, the appeal is more of a ‘loft’ than the industrial theme. Another, previously owned piece of furniture that finds its way indispensably into the décor is the purple bed – a blast of colour in the textural mayhem of brick and oak boards. Crates repurposed as seats add to the loft look.
If the architects are reaching towards a bare look in the master bedroom, the other rooms and bathrooms tell a different tale. The hallway’s length is accentuated by alternating grey and white on its walls; this finally terminates in the home office. The home office, though similar in décor is more formal and modern in appeal, where graphite focus walls alter the spatial scale, to make it seem larger.
An interesting design strategy in the interior décor is the use of furniture resembling factory or barn salvages; like the crate seats in the bedrooms or corrugated steel furniture. The colours within the spaces predominantly adhere to graphite tones. A dash of purple, blue and sometimes yellow, through various elements, completely changes the aura of each room.
This colour tactic is also seen in the bathrooms, where while the master bathroom makes a bold point with the use of bright blue for the walls that dominate the setting also harnesses the clean lines of the ceramics and grey concrete. The other bathroom is much more subdued with a clutter free treatment and colours used that are of shades of grey.
Soma Architekci, a team consisting of graduates of University and Academy of Fine Arts, have created yet another architectural statement through this Mokotów industrial style apartment that is unique to its owner’s personality. By manoeuvring imaginatively the many materials and colours, the latent qualities come to fore giving the apartment not only a truly ascetic character but also the welcoming warmth of a happy home.
Text By K Parvathy Menon
Photographs Courtesy Soma Architekci, Joanna Rochowska-Mazur, Wojciech Mazur