A Tel Aviv loft apartment located in the iconic Zamenhof Clinic building, whose unfussy Bauhaus style has been preserved in the building’s 21st century transformation into a luxurious residential complex.
Working to the owner’s brief, architect Irit Axelrod converted a vast asymmetrical 200 sq.m (2,700 sq.ft) light-filled shell into a modern loft pared back to expose the original structure – the rough concrete ceiling, a heavy structural pillar and the electricity and aircon ducts are all on show – creating a home tailored to the owner’s lifestyle and the perfect showcase for his art and book collections.
Challenged by an oddly angular space in a non-orthogonal building, Axelrod chose to “override” the angles, as it were, by treating the entire space as one, broken only by a black, free-standing rectangular ‘container’ with a black patina finish. As the container does not touch any perimeter wall it appears to float in the space. One of its long sides provides a backdrop to the living room, but this is deceptive as it’s more than a wall on which to display art – the container conceals a stylish en suite bathroom, guest bathroom and powder room, storage and a laundry room.
The spacious master bedroom and guest bedroom, located in the open space beyond the black container, are separated by a custom-made two-sided wardrobe above which a glass wall extends to the ceiling to give total privacy and to retain the continuum of ceiling for a more spacious feel in the bedrooms. Also concealed in the container are floor to ceiling sliding doors to close off the bedrooms from the main living area when needed.
The repetitive, equidistant windows of identical size located along most of the apartment’s exterior walls – a legacy of the building’s former purpose as doctors’ offices – presented a second challenge. A simple black shelving system dances across the longest wall, sculpturally relieving and interacting with the windows’ uniformity, and displaying books and artworks.
The play of black, white and grey materials and finishes is softened by brown oak flooring, whose herringbone design both echoes and defies the loft’s non-orthogonal angles and softens the loft feel. In contrast, the stainless steel kitchen islands and aluminum grey kitchen cabinets, in galley formation, play to the industrial look.
Lighting is a key design element – wiring, fixed lighting fixtures and over-sized lamps stretch across the ceiling, are suspended from it, or zigzag down the walls, following and emphasizing the architecture and layout, accenting the quirky angularity of the loft, and adding shadow play as the day draws to a close.
The clean lines, open space and limited palette of colors respect the owner’s personality, giving him a home and gallery space that is at a complete remove from the noisy, crowded and rather tired inner-city neighborhood in which urban regeneration is inching forward, one building at a time.
Material Used Bauhaus Loft :
1. Herringbone oak – flooring – Dilegno
2. Exposed original concrete walls
3. Blackened steel – storage and shelving
4. Stainless steel – kitchen – DaDa
5. Rezina – bathroom flooring and walls