EBBA Architects have recently completed an ambitious refurbishment to an apartment located in an old matchstick factory in East London. The project includes the complete overhaul of a double-height space in the converted factory building, opening up and extending the mezzanine to provide a big flexible apartment. The renovation sought to maximize the small footprint by lining the edges with joinery and storage, allowing for an open plan arrangement with vertical lines that could increase the sense of volume.
Propping up the extended floor is a large piece of furniture – working as structural joinery – in the form of a new stair in timber with all the elements left exposed, framing an intimate space beneath that will be used for dining. The slender skeletal framework of the stair helps to emphasize the height of the main living space while also acting as the support for a desk on the level above, offering a contemplative study space for working at home.
The use of the ash for the structural timber in a white stain provides a soft background to the apartment, coupled with the neutral tones of the cement floor and kitchen counter – a terrazzo-like slab with translucent aggregate and fine black basalt. To complement the subdued and calming interior, a selection of simple lighting fixtures respond to the activities and way how the residents will use the apartment while accompanying the forms of the new joinery.
An enlarged storage unit in pine supports the functional aspects of life and will be able to be concealed behind curtains hanging from a rail. All furniture sought to use available timber treated and made to a very high quality that enabled an ambitious project to be delivered cost-effectively.
Photography by Benni Allan