When you see the design that interior architect Susanna Cots created for a penthouse apartment in a bustling neighborhood of Barcelona, one word comes to mind: chic. Cots, who is known for her use of white tones, carefully integrated a grayscale color scheme into a geometric layout that is sunlit, spacious, and practical.
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But it wasn't always this way. When Cots first met the family with four children who live here, the property was a dark enclosure of mismatched rooms. Cots relied on a few common solutions to brighten the layout — namely, light wood floors, white walls, and steel-lined windows — and installed them in a way that gave each facet a share of attention. But Cots did something unexpected, too: she focused on square shapes to provide character.
Throughout the home, on larger and smaller details, squares are used to artfully define areas and rooms. For instance, the kitchen is separated in a transparent cube constructed from sliding glass windows, and rectangles define the living space that leads to the patio. Such symmetry creates a calmness that complements the airiness of a minimal palette. And seeing as Cots was always creating for a large family, that's exactly what they need.
A built-in fireplace by Hergom made out of black steel sets the tone for the rest of the apartment. It's one way that the architect utilized asymmetrical elements to create a cohesive symmetry. The black steel material is repeated in the bordered windows and throughout the kitchen.
By choosing to work with white paint and light-colored floors, sunlight frames the apartment so that the outside is on display.
The owners chose to display smaller items in white built-in shelves, in keeping with a minimalist look. The shape of the shelves are similar to the steel frame of the windows separating the kitchen.
Much of the carpentry and furniture in the home was designed by Cots's firm and punctuated by innovative designers. In the kitchen, stools by HAY provide seats for the bar.
No space is wasted in the bedroom, where a steel-framed loft bed is practical without interrupting the unified design. Curtains frame the view from outside.