Brera Apartment featured in book by Never Too Small
Melbourne, AUS

"The team at ATOMAA were inspired by the ingenuity of Japanese design and modern European architecture. "

"Milan's Brera district is surprisingly peaceful given its central location and proximity to several Christian pilgrimage sites. In fact, the medieval district was planned, laid out and built up well before the first automobile was a glint in Karl Benz's eye. So while Brera is surrounded by a circular series of viali, its residents benefit from a distinct lack of heavy traffic."

In certain parts of the neighbourhood, narrow strade give way to wide piazzas where pedestrians peruse the trendy fashion boutiques, or can be seen enjoying the robust alfresco dining scene. This trendy part of Milan is dominated by apartment living - and stepping into a variety of homes would be to see a tapestry of the district over the centuries.

While many buildings here are hundreds of years old, most were built during the 1800s and have undergone multiple renovations over the years. However, none reflect a modern vision for small-footprint sustainable living better than the Brera apartment by Milanese architecture firm, ATOMAA. Located in an 18th-century building, this apartment could not be more disparate from its exterior. The wall dividing the existing bedroom and the living room was the only significant change made by ATOMAA when creating the space he needed to execute an 'origami-inspired' design. The open space gave him the flexibility to create a series of sliding timber panels that can be rearranged to accommodate the needs of the residents. At only 32 sq m (344 sq ft), there wasn't a lot of space to work with. However, this clever configuration created separation between the bedroom, dining area, kitchen and living room."

"Normally in a home of this size, storage space is the first thing to go. There's simply not enough room. This makes the creativity of Brera's design so much more intriguing. Storage here is abundant. From the raised sleeping platform, which hinges up to reveal an ample wardrobe under the bed, to plenty of kitchen cabinets (a must for an Italian home), every bit of space is utilised. There's even a set of hidden stairs that slide out to make the 1.4 m (4.6 ft) trip to the raised bed a little easier.
It's small details like the circular holes cut into all the cabinetry in lieu of handles that make Brera extra special.
The same ubiquitous holes are cut into the timber of the sliding panels that hide the sleeping area during the day."

When the panels are completely closed, they let a smattering of natural light enter the room.
The notion of flexibility is a standout of this design. Brera shapeshifts frequently over the course of a day. A guest turning up in the morning, afternoon or evening would see a different configuration each time. A small-footprint resident doesn't have the luxury of moving to various rooms to accomplish their daily activities. Instead, they must transform their space to accommodate their lifestyle.

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