The owner of the Villarroel apartment, a bachelor in his early forties, approached the locally based practice with an open renovation brief. He requesting the addition of an en-suite to his bedroom and the creation of another room that could be used as guest quarters or a study.
However, the architects were challenged by the apartment's layout, which they described as formerly having "no interest at all, no intelligent use of natural light, no complexity".
"Initially, the client had in mind a conventional layout, with separated spaces, and it was our challenge to turn that standard layout into something more complex and flexible," studio founder Raúl Sanchez told Dezeen.
The architects decided to arrange the property into three main zones and trade any existing partition walls for different "material codes" that would distinguish rooms from one another.
While living areas would feature whitewashed walls and wooden flooring, functional areas like the kitchen and bathrooms would be completed in shades of grey.
"The apartment will, with time, be full of little things, books, decoration and all kind of objects…so the colour palette also allows this future explosion of colour to take place," Sánchez explained.
The first zone plays host to the apartment's entranceway and guest room, which has been furnished with a desk should the client wish to use it as a workspace.
An open-plan dining and sitting area lies within the second zone. The kitchen is anchored by a granite breakfast island and has been fitted with slate-coloured stone floors, which contrast against the warm parquet floors in the adjacent lounge.
This space is fronted by a large window that overlooks a white-tiled balcony – the window's chunky ledge also offers inhabitants an alternative place to sit or display their possessions.
The third zone contains the master bedroom, which features full-height shelves integrated into the walls. A panel of textured glass slides back to reveal a walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom, decorated with unevenly finished stucco walls and circular mirrors.
Raul Sanchez Architects previously used patterned tiles, micro-cement and marble to define living spaces in a narrow Barcelona dwelling. In another renovation project, the firm erected a circular pine wall to create rooms in a vaulted basement home.
Photography is by José Hevia.
Architecture: Raúl Sanchez Architects
Engineering: Marés Ingenieros