Voltaire, Paris

Designed by: SABO project
For client: Private Floor area: 72.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Submitted for: Small Apartment of the Year

Public Score
6.03 Function
5.80 Innovation
5.73 Creativity
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About the Project

The apartment is located in a 1920’s industrial building of Paris’ 11ᵗʰ arrondissement.
The initial space of square proportions is stripped down to raw concrete. The sole addition of a central island is enough to define a variety of spaces, entrance, main living space, dressing, horizontal and vertical circulations, without the need for any wall or partition. The rough ceiling runs continuously throughout the apartment while a looping circulation establishes a subtle gradation between the main space and the more private areas.
The island cladding consists of 40 aluminum sheets that are custom punched, folded, anodized and mounted on a metal structure. The manipulation of perforated shutters provides the potential for many light and privacy scenarios.

What’s unique about it

The design of the Voltaire loft uses innovative spatial strategies, materials and mechanisms to suggest alternative ways of living within the ever shrinking small urban apartment.
The aim was to design a place where owners could enjoy the light, spatial openness and generosity typically found in industrial lofts while also benefit from the separate private areas mostly found in more conventional apartments. Those seemingly contradicting ideas resulted in the simple insertion within the space of an object designed to be both a background and a focal point. While responding to all the needs of a young couple, the central island preserves the rawness and openness of the original space by condensing a variety of functions within it.
Construction budget being very limited, the decision was made to direct most efforts towards the central core. Its cladding is made out of exterior aluminum panels, typically used for much larger structure and in much larger quantities, that give it a very distinct personality for a very reasonable cost. Twelve out of the 40 panels are doors or custom perforated shutters that can be manipulated to access rooms and closets or to respond to specific light conditions. The daily manipulations of those mechanisms promotes a very intimate and playful interaction between the island and the owners.
The Voltaire loft demonstrates that good design can embrace the many potentials and opportunities of living small.

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Sabo Work Voltaire Lower Level
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Location of project:
SABO project

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