Smoke & Mirrors: How a Small Apartment Doubles Its Visual Space

Smoke & Mirrors: How a Small Apartment Doubles Its Visual Space

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Nancy Mitchell
Mar 20, 2017
(Image credit: Manuel Ocaña via Artistic Odyssey)

Want to know the easiest and fastest way to make a small space feel larger? Mirrors. This little apartment in Madrid takes that advice and runs with it, with an entire wall completely covered in mirrors. Combine that with glass partitions and you get a tiny apartment that appears to go on forever.

(Image credit: Manuel Ocaña via Artistic Odyssey)
(Image credit: Manuel Ocaña via Artistic Odyssey)

The apartment, which was renovated by Spanish architect Manuel Ocaña, has two bedrooms, a living and dining area, a bathroom, and a kitchen, all in 51 square meters (about 550 square feet). By using the glass partitions, Ocaña was able to recapture space for private uses (the bedrooms and the bathroom) without visually breaking up the apartment. They also allow light to move through the space, keeping it bright and airy.

In this floor plan of the apartment, the mirrored wall is shown in black.
(Image credit: Manuel Ocaña via Artistic Odyssey)

The combined effect of the glass partitions and the mirrored wall, especially in photos, is enlarging and also a bit disorienting: it's hard to tell where spaces actually begin and end. A look at the floor plan is helpful: the walls drawn with the dark line are the mirrored ones, so that the mirrored wall runs down one side of the apartment, and takes a turn when it reaches the bedroom.

(Image credit: Manuel Ocaña via Artistic Odyssey)

The idea of everyone being able to see you in the bathroom may be a bit disconcerting, but in this case the glass portion of the bathroom is only the bit that contains the sink. The rest is hidden behind the mirrored wall — if you look very closely at this photo, you can see a door handle on the mirrored wall, right behind where the woman is standing.

The view from the bedroom, which features a portion of the mirrored wall (part of which appears to be closet doors).
(Image credit: Manuel Ocaña via Artistic Odyssey)

Upon hitting the bedroom, the mirrors take a turn to cover the wall (and doors) of the bedroom closet. An innovation that I would certainly appreciate, were this my home, would be some kind of curtain that can be drawn over the glass wall of the bedroom for a little more privacy.

The difficulty of creating so many separate rooms and so many different functions in such a small space is doing so without making the apartment feel claustrophobic or chopped up. The glass-and-mirrors approach is definitely a unique one, but, as the pictures attest — it's also particularly effective.

You can see more photos, and read more about the space, at Artistic Odyssey.

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