SPACES

Updated: Sep 30

Publication in HOMEWORKS ISSUE 74



This Architecture & Design issue begins with Architects Simon Grech and Elisa Camilleri’s own three-dimensional Valletta apartment, reminiscent of a quirky, ever-moving puzzle. Here, the element of fun mixed with clever architectural design results in a distinct and memorable apartment on page 020. Young Architect Steve Scicluna chases maximum light inside an Msida house that extends and wraps around a central courtyard on page 028. Page 035 brings us an apartment refurbished by the new firm Valentino Architects for Architect Sandro Valentino, transforming it into a striking and functional space whilst retaining its original character.



WELCOME TO THE

FLAT OF FUN


Concrete floors and slabs, steel beams, sliding mechanisms and movable furniture. Timber apertures, birch plywood furniture and steel shelves... this is the product of two creatives inhabiting the same space. Architect Simon Grech and his partner architect Elisa Camilleri bring us their extremely three-dimensional Valletta apartment, reminiscent of a quirky, ever-moving puzzle. Here, the element of fun mixed with clever architectural design results in a distinct and memorable apartment.


Architecture: Simon Grech and Elisa Camilleri

MODEL (ex-GRECH&VINCIARCHITECTURE&DESIGN)

Photography: Luis Rodriguez

Styling: Jennifer Jo Barth

Words: Lisa Borain



A moveable wall made of gypsum and steel allows the apartment to become one whole open space when entertaining, or closed up to form a bedroom. It also serves to become a projection wall when the couple want to relax and watch a film in the evenings. The steel beams that replace the former walls form a steel cornice, which creates a play of angles, keeping the architectural intervention visible and defined. Original artwork by Theresa Sciberras, iittala birds by Toikka from core, Handmade concrete bottles by Elisa Camilleri, Black steel nestle table from Habitat at The Atrium, Patterned pot from Coincasa at The Atrium, Plant from Derek Garden Centre, Cushions from Design House, Kilim rug from The Rug Gallery, Magis Stool One from core



Renowned inside and outside the architectural industry for his firm, clean lines and volumes to create architecture that intelligently maximises light, space and flexibility, it was extremely interesting to see what living space Architects Simon Grech and Elisa Camilleri would create for themselves.


Initially, this corner Valletta property comprised of two separate properties that were connected through a steel staircase. The architects wanted to create a flexible space that accommodates different tasks or functions. They did this by creating a moveable wall that allows the apartment to become completely three-dimensional.


With this moving wall made of gypsum and steel, the apartment can become one whole open space when entertaining, or closed up to form a bedroom. It also serves to become a projection wall when the couple want to relax and watch a film in the evenings. The steel beams that replace the former walls form a steel cornice, which creates a play of angles, keeping the architectural intervention visible and defined.


Prominent in the living area is a large plywood modular wall, which cases a comfortable sized murphy bed, along with ample storage space. Here, blocks from the wall can completely disconnect and be flipped around to serve as side tables or stools.


The kitchen is also flexible so that it can open up to a fully-fledged and functional work space, as well as completely closed, forming a black box. The striking custom-made (by Simon and Elisa) island is based on the fundamental steel details of Jean Prouvé’s furniture design, whose signature product design is based on the transference of industry to architecture.



A large plywood modular wall cases a comfortably sized murphy bed, along with ample storage space. Here, blocks from the wall can completely disconnect and be flipped around to serve as side tables or stools. Alette white standing shade, from Habitat at The Atrium. Grey pot on bamboo stand from Habitat at the atrium. Plants from Derek Garden Centre



In keeping with this dynamic apartment constantly in motion is the furniture on moveable wheels – all can be configured according to the function needed. Even the sofa was retrofitted with wheels to ease its facility of mobility.



The kitchen is also flexible so that it can open up to a fully-fledged and functional work space, as well as completely closed, forming a black box. The striking custom-made (by Simon and Elisa) island is based on the fundamental steel details of Jean Prouvé’s furniture design. MENU Aurelien Barbry tea set and espresso cups from core





Steel is a key material used throughout the apartment, while the play of angles keeps the architectural intervention visible and defined. iittala birds by Toikka from core, White Onfale Lamp by Artemide from core, Artictic figure from Vee Gee Bee, San Gwann


Simon ‘The apartment is fun and works like a game or puzzle. Bringing in the element of jocularity and creating a space that can double up as an entertainment area was important to us.’


One of the space’s fortes is its airy and openness, with louvered windows that can be opened wide to bring in light and create natural ventilation, or closed when privacy is needed.


The material palette was kept restricted, accented by blocks of colour introduced through furniture.


The sharp, geometric patterned floor tiles were chosen for their three-dimensional effect, the angles of which echo throughout the house


Steel is a key material used throughout the apartment, forming the staircase, sliding wall, kitchen island and vanity. Meanwhile, cement/concrete is used to create the two main floor types that define different spaces and uses. Basic monolithic concrete floors are used in the open plan areas, while cement-patterned tiles define the ancillary spaces, such as the hallways and bathrooms.


Elisa ‘The sharp geometric floor tiles were chosen for their three-dimensional effect, the angles of which echo throughout the house – from the sharp steel railing to the concrete cantilevered edge.’


Throughout this intelligent design, the maximum use of storage space was made possible, while the apartment adapts and transforms to suit the occasion. It’s clever, functional, and looks fantastic.

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