How a 10-degree tweak made this 520sqft Shanghai apartment instantly feel bigger

Tasked with re-booting a small apartment on Kangping Road in Shanghai, TOWOdesign did away with following the strict grid of the floor plan.

The design firm started out with ‘function boxes’: four box-like volumes integrating fixtures and furniture for rest (such as a loft bed), entertainment (a TV), cooking (a kitchen and built-in dining table), and cleaning (a bathroom and washing machine). These volumes, complete with hidden storage, would slide easily into the apartment’s compact layout in a neat design solution.

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However, things proved less simple than anticipated. The function boxes made the room feel cramped, with the multimedia box in particular interrupting one’s flow of vision upon entering the already compact home.

Yet instead of scrapping the function box idea and starting from scratch, TOWOdesign opted instead to make one tiny adjustment to their design: rotating the placement of the function boxes by ten degrees.

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The difference is dramatic. Thanks to the slanted positioning, one’s line of vision is widened, making the space feel significantly bigger. The addition of reflective surfaces also add to the sense of spaciousness, with TOWOdesign ensuring they do not mirror the sleeping area, a taboo in Chinese culture.

Check out this video for a tour of TOWOdesign’s 10° Home.

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The 48sqm apartment is outfitted with four 'function boxes', incorporating elements of entertainment, rest, dining and cleaning to the home. The 'multimedia box' is seen here, decked out with shelves and a TV. The yellow volume features hidden storage as well as the kitchen.

The kitchen portion and cabinetry in a cheery yellow hue.

Next to the kitchen, the bathroom sits behind a semi-camouflaged door, while reflective surfaces outfit the main entrance and more cabinetry to the side.

The loft bed, which comes with yet more storage space within the staircase.

The loft bed and its built-in shelving system.


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Photos, GIF and video: Courtesy of TOWOdesign