In a small apartment in a Brussels suburb, architecture firm Phdv Architecture has created an all-white space that uses the light-reflecting qualities of white to produce a simple yet multi-layered design. The architects have succeeded in creating a light-filled, airy space in an apartment with a miniscule square footage. Every room in the apartment is characterised by a different light source, and it's the play of these lights on white walls, white ceilings and white floors that gives to each room texture and interest.
From a hatch leading to the roof of the building light spills into the stairwell. Originally, this hatch was closed off but was replaced with glazing to flood the space with sunlight. Reflecting off the white staircase, white walls and white carpet the effect is dazzlingly luminous. A sunburst mirror on the wall and a statuette break up the whiteness and give a hint on entering as to the importance of light sources throughout the design of the rest of the house.
The stairs have an open tread, the better to let the light flow right down through the space. Storage cupboards are built into the walls with concealed handles for a smooth and uninterrupted march of whiteness. A retro yellow desk lamp and a teak side table provide some colour.
Light and lighting is this apartment's most characteristic feature. Whether it's a sunburst mirror suggesting the sun's light; the light spilling down the stairwell from the roof; the yellow desk lamp in the hall, or this glorious pendant lamp, different light sources reflecting off the dazzling white walls and floors are key to the design. Light is handed off from one room to another, as in a relay – we can just glimpse the light well in the hall on the right here, which hands off to the desk lamp, and on to the ceiling lamp.
Storage is again unobtrusive, with built-in cupboards with matching white handles.
Again, light, and how it reflects and diffuses across different surfaces, is the key feature in the kitchen. A single wall light reflects its radiance up and down the all-white walls. The kitchen cabinets again have concealed handles, keeping the space ultra-clean and simple. The gloss finish on the floor and cabinets reflects light from the room beyond, creating a mix of warm and cool lighting in the space.
A single naked bulb hanging over the dining table is striking rather than bleak, and forms the focal point of the room. As in the rest of the apartment, simplicity is the watchword. A vintage lamp's light is reflected off the floor and the walls to create a pool of light in the corner. This white room is given a touch of warmth with an off-centre patterned rug.
The bathroom is accessed through a sliding door to optimise the use of space. Light is again a key feature, with a single bulb over the sink and spotlights in the shower drawing the eye. The hints of vintage we saw in the other rooms are again visible here in the metro tiles in the shower and the vintage mirror. The rest of the bathroom's fittings are sleek and minimal in detail, in keeping with the rest of the apartment.
A vintage chandelier is the first thing you notice in this room – as in all the others, light is the centrepiece of the space. Built-in wardrobes are unobtrusive, and a clever use of space is the shelving behind the bed. Other than the pop of lilac coming from the bedspread, the room is unadorned, with the decorative elements coming from the play of lights on the white walls, ceiling and floor.