This versatile apartment functions as an art venue as well as a lofty home that celebrates its industrial roots

With a five-metre ceiling height and a spacious yet cosy open-plan layout, there is much to love about this apartment. This home is located in Barcelona’s Poblenou neighbourhood, a former factory district that has seen an urban revival in the past two decades. Once known as the “Catalan Manchester,” Poblenou is becoming the creative heart of the city; it’s also celebrated for its proximity to Bogatell Beach and the up-and-coming 22@ technology district, as well as landmarks such as the Barcelona Design Museum and the Agbar Tower.

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The owners wanted to pay tribute to the apartment’s industrial beginnings by preserving some of its original architectural elements, while conveying a sense of lightness and warmth. They tasked Barcelona-based practice The Room Studio to transform the property into a flexible, multi-purpose space that could function as a gallery for art exhibitions and a pied-à-terre for the homeowners whenever they visit the city.

“The project itself was a challenge; we had to shape the space and make it warm and with an industrial touch,” say Meritxell Ribé and Josep Puigdomènech, creative directors of The Room Studio. “The owners wanted to keep the natural materials and their imperfections; in addition, they had the idea of allocating spaces both for living in and for holding events and exhibitions related to the art world. For this, a very versatile space was created to be capable of covering different uses.”

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Lofty Heights

The apartment consists of a large open-plan living area, two guest rooms and an office; the master suite is located on the mezzanine. Its open-plan configuration and generous square footage, however, presented unique challenges as well. The five-metre ceiling height and spacious floor plan made the apartment a desirable space to showcase art but they also made the interior appear more like a gallery than an actual home. To this end, the designers utilised architectural and decorative lighting to bring a sense of warmth to the apartment. “Lighting is very important for us in all our projects,” share the designers. “In this loft, a very exhaustive study was made, illuminating the ceilings in different ways so that it did not look like a museum.”

Within the open-plan space, the variety of leisure zones includes a lounge area for film screenings, as well as a bar counter and a dining area for entertaining guests. The furniture selection differentiates each area from the next, and where possible, modular pieces were chosen so the furniture could be easily rearranged for the art events the owners host. Take for instance the grey modular sofa from Saba Italia, which can be easily rearranged into separate seats.

“We sought to make a distinction of each corner but giving each one a unique use,” explain the designers. “It was carried out through the placement of furniture and the deployment of carpets that allowed us to make this type of division in a natural and very visual way.” A prime example is the curved sofa from Massproductions, which has been angled to face the projector screen on the opposite wall while visually dividing the space; it is also the designers’ favourite element in this project.

 

The original industrial-style kitchen was preserved and incorporated as part of the new interior scheme. Additionally, shades of red are applied to the culinary zone and elsewhere in the home. These include the chairs from Magis and Vitra selected for the dining table and the iconic Campari lamps designed by Ingo Maurer that float above the kitchen counter. Other notable lighting pieces include the suspension lamp from Vibia; its geometric form references the triangular structure of the vaulted ceiling and draws attention to the voluminous height of the space.