Our first visit to the rooftop room revealed a repressive 10 square meter space with a narrow balcony in the back. Upon placing a bed, a fridge and a low cupboard for storing the essentials, there was barely any space left and any desire to stay. It was hard within this context to imagine a pleasant, welcoming space destined for tourist rental, as the clients wished. The only advantage was the large roof terrace in front, which offered a panoramic view of Athens and the Acropolis in one of its most flattering angles.
With this as a starting point, we visualized a radically different space in terms of materiality, use, orientation and color. Looking back at traditional Japanese architecture where the outstanding economy of space dictates an austere lifestyle without aesthetic sacrifices, we designed a room/furniture piece which makes use of every single spot thus intensifying the user’s experience.
A whole wall was torn down and replaced with a fixed opening towards the fantastic view while another was turned into a full height mirror. With these two gestures, the room was at once liberated from its claustrophobic sensation. The floor, apart from a slim passage, was lightly raised to become a platform for the mattress and seating cushions as well as a counter for breakfast. Under it, there is storage space in various forms, for sheets, cleaning products, the visitors’ suitcases, cutlery and crockery. The floor was also extended outdoors through the large opening, to become a low exterior window seat. A small wooden step stool also serves as a coffee table. All existing door frames, plaster moldings and details were removed to keep the geometry as minimal as possible. A new translucent door was constructed for the bathroom in order to allow natural light in. Small dowels were anchored in the wall behind the entrance door for hanging clothes and all lighting was built in. Finally the whole floor inside and out was painted sea blue to create a visual continuum with the summer Athenean sky.
(The project’s title is borrowed from Julie Maroh’s eponymous graphic novel of 2010)