OMA's Rem Koolhaas envisioned the newly completed De Rotterdam complex to be a "vertical city," meaning that a whole host of functions--offices, apartments, a hotel, shops, dining and more--must be concentrated in a small space.

The smallest apartment in the building takes up only 60 square meters (a smidgeon under 650 square feet, smaller than the average racquetball court).

With a bit of artful stacking, 650 square feet can start to feel a little luxurious.

The bed folds out on top of the sofa in the living room.

The decorative plants that had been sitting on the living room shelf move with the bed.

The other room serves as a workspace.

A bed unfolds on top of the desk.

The resident need not even move his laptop as the workspace turns into a bedroom.

Cleverly patterned folding chairs can be added to the wall as a space-saving decoration.

Tables can be stacked together in the living room space in case of a group dinner.

Plenty of room for entertaining, even in a tiny apartment.

Of course, it probably helps that in this model apartment, there are no belongings to take up extra space.

"It's design, it has to look good. And it must be comfortable," Wim De Lathauwer of 44/floors, says in the video.

"It's design, it has to look good. And it must be comfortable," Wim De Lathauwer of 44/floors, says in the video.

Co.Design

Tour A Luxurious 5-Room Apartment That's Just 650 Square Feet

Creative furniture stacking creates two bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, and an office.

The successful micro apartment hinges on artful stacking. The smallest apartment in De Rotterdam, OMA's recently completed mixed-use tower complex in the Netherlands, takes up only 60 square meters (a smidgeon under 650 square feet, smaller than the average racquetball court). Architect Rem Koolhaas envisioned De Rotterdam to be a "vertical city," meaning that a whole host of functions—offices, apartments, a hotel, shops, dining, and more—must be concentrated in a small space.

The company providing apartments in the building's west tower, 44/floors, took a video tour of the tiny apartment's space-saving design, showing how with a little design legwork, living in 650 square feet can start to feel a little luxurious:

The bed folds out on top of the sofa in the living room, with decorative plants attached. In another room, a bed unfolds on top of a desk, without even requiring the user to move his laptop as the workspace turns into a bedroom. Slabs of wood that look like colorful, decorative pieces of geometric art can be taken off the wall to fold out into ingenious dining chairs. Tables can be stacked together in the living room space in case of a group dinner.

"It's design, it has to look good. And it must be comfortable," Wim De Lathauwer of 44/floors, says in the video, which shows off designs by the Italian furniture company Clei. It does look good, especially since in this model apartment, the occupant's only possessions seem to be a coat and a pair of keys. Comfort, on the other hand, may be questionable. Micro-housing is not without its downsides. Some experts have warned that New York City's even smaller 300-square-foot micro apartment designs might not be great for the mental health of occupants, including families. (Do you really want to stack parents, kids, and siblings directly on top of each other 24 hours a day?)

But for a design-minded individual who doesn't mind having to pull a bed out of the wall each night, it looks fantastic.

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2 Comments

  • Aditya Somway

    And I'll have to spend most of my time folding/unfolding things, taking the chairs off the mantle and putting them back.

    It would be wonderful to see pictures of one of these apartments with someone actually living in them.

    Nice view though :)

  • Semyon Kurashov

    An average russian apartment is 55 square meters. We must be extremely creative to have been fitting all the furniture and belongings of a family of 4 or more in that living space without any designer`s help for years.