Penthouse Apartment – Lecarolimited – Germany
Private Apartment 400m2
Location: Berlin, Germany
As the result of an invited competition, during the spring of 2010 Lecarolimited was commissioned to remodel the penthouse of a German apartment building, spread over two floors, situated beside an inner-city football ground, on a small but active street in the middle of a large gallery district.
Identifying the existing situation – large apartment, warren of partitions and closed rooms – we instead proposed a unitary object which, not boxing-off, simply shapes and shelters each different activity.
This principle ambition was developed into a new surface logic which, becoming lounge, bar and kitchen…then wall again, instead guides gently with a continuity from space to space.
We tested options and settled on a ‘mirror-belt’, a chimerical insertion which by wrapping also representationally enfolds. In doing this we embraced the variety metaphors in such a material.
We projected into the design both a tradition of Loos-ian sensuality, as well as Mirror’s history of associations with myth and magic; a notion of the unnatural or sinful, where mirror feeds identities, and represents likenesses with an ever-so-slightly distorted truth. Meanwhile, both the material and the spatial application facilitate the dynamic and whimsical aspect over a German city roof-scape.
We constructed the new interior surface as discrete objects on site. Constructed by our carpenter as wooden substrate, they are finished for the ‘mirror-belt’ using a custom painted bespoke glass. The unique character of this material ultimately defrayed the intensity of a standard mirror, each piece arriving in small and nonuniform panels.
Our carpenter worked with the master pattern, which was adapted as the fragile individual glass pieces would allow. Each piece was split by hand, one by one to fit its own space. Full of individual streaks and waves to us seeming though a view from the sea floor or puddle, the defragmentation of the surface animated the space through its ambivalence and partiality.
Main living and bedrooms share the language of this new super-surface, while guest quarters operate thematically in the space of the reverse or underside. A new darkened coridoor leads to the separate child-like, colourful spaces for the guests, both rooms in a separate character.
The dining table „Triangle Table“ was specifically developed for this apartment. The table has multiple configurations, as a six-meter-long dining table or four smaller tressles, flexibility which allows the room to be used for dining or entertaining. This dynamic profile generates a different view for each guest, and in contrast to most six-meter tables, establishes no hierarchy.
The apartment was also subject to site-specific commissions which were integrated into the design; the Japanese light-artist Takehito Koganezawa, Terry Rodgers, Lori Hersberger Jason Martin.