With the right design, even the smallest studio apartment can feel spacious. A new studio developed by Madrid-based PKMN Architectures can be configured different ways to create rooms within the room, making a tiny apartment feel like a house. It uses a system of moving stacks, not unlike those used in archives and libraries, to make a single room into a bedroom, a kitchen, or an office at any given moment, by shifting the walls.
The custom-made wooden containers are rigged to move along a railing system near the ceiling. The containers are storage spaces that contain a wardrobe, cabinets, bookshelves, and fold-out furniture. The apartment’s appliances and plumbing remain static. The kitchen and bathroom are on either side of the apartment, and the appliances and plumbing remain in place while the cabinets roll across the apartment, transforming it into a kitchen, a bedroom, a dressing room, or a studio, “enabling infinite homes within a house,” as the architects write of the project.
However, as you can see in the video, there is a small room outside the movable stacks, which does lend the whole project a bit of extra breathing space. According to PKMN co-founder Carmelo Rodríguez, the movable room only takes up around 540 square feet, but it opens out onto a slightly larger courtyard.
A similar theoretical concept was floated by a group of designers at the London Design Festival earlier this year, but PKMN’s moveable container system, built for designer Yolanda R. Pila and completed in August of this year, makes the idea of a reconfigurable home real, and pretty attractive. We’ve seen plenty of tiny apartments with fold-out furniture and space-saving housewares, but this apartment has the advantage of actually feeling like a house. You don’t just fold in your table and fold out your Murphy bed, you actually move the walls, giving each space its own distinctive feel–bookshelves or cabinets full of clothing or kitchen wares–that make it look like you’re really moving through different rooms, rather than living in the same tiny box.