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Project Sardine. Small but functional student apartments

11 of June '21

Sardine is the design task faced by second-year master's students of the Faculty of Interior Design at the J. Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. The goal was to design a small living space for a student, in which all basic functions would be included.

The task, aptly named Sardine, was carried out in the Second Studio of Furniture and Interior Design, led by Dr. Marek Blazucki and assistant Anna Markowska. The goal was to design a living space for a student, taking into account his basic needs, related to everyday life. The designers were to include a place to work, sleep, spend time, prepare meals, as well as a sanitary area. It was intended that such a unit would be part of a larger complex, such as a dormitory, so certain functions, such as the ability to do laundry, among others, were intentionally omitted, as generally available in the facility.

Premium student house,
Ina Aszkiełowicz

The students used interesting solutions, such as a podsest in which the bed is hidden

© Ina Aszkielowicz

This was not meant to be a Guinness record-breaker for the smallest possible area, nor was a minimum area given, so as not to limit the creativity of its use. Why such a task in the Furniture Design Studio? This is a subject in which the character of the designed space is determined precisely by the furniture, which in this case is the main means of shaping the space - a piece of furniture integrated into the architecture. This is a topic on the borderline of furniture design and interior architecture, where a piece of furniture is not just an object inserted into a given space," says Marek Blazucki, PhD, who leads the studio.

Sardynka, 15 m²
kawalerka dla studenta, Weronika Blitek Sardynka, 15 m² kawalerka dla

Key to the project were appropriate storage space solutions

© Weronika Blitek

Dobrawa Bies: A room of one's own and of a good standard is the dream of many students living in dormitories. How did your students approach the task?

Marek Blazucki: They approached with commitment, which then turned into resignation after realizing how difficult it is, only to develop interesting solutions after going through a minor crisis.

Dobrawa: Fifteen square meters, or not much more, seems a small space if we are to fit all the necessary functions on it. How to wisely break out of such limitations?

Marek Blazucki: Everyone has done it in their own way, but such a main action to make the best use of the space is to divide it between different functions or functional zones and adapt it to specific tasks according to needs, time of day, etc.

Premium student house,
rzut Sardynka, 15 m² kawalerka dla
studenta, rzut

After such a task, designing difficult functional programs in a limited space will no longer be terrible

© Ina Aszkiełowicz, Weronika Blitek

Dobrawa:What were the design difficulties, and what results were the task participants most satisfied with?

Marek Blazucki: Initially, the biggest difficulty was to get visually satisfying solutions. To put it colloquially - once you crammed everything in, it didn't look right. It was necessary to go through this in order to learn about the conditions, limitations, to get the freedom to operate the function, to look for ideas for the "interlocking" of certain layouts, in order to be able to start designing obtaining a coherent, defined character of the space being developed.

Dobrawa: What conclusions can be drawn, what did the project participants learn?

Marek Blazucki: They went through a hard school, which they themselves admitted, but I think that designing difficult functional programs in a limited space will no longer be terrible for them. Each of these solutions is different, in each there is a distinctive idea, some I propose more than we assumed, that is, for example, the possibility of configuring the layout for the needs of a specific user who pays more attention to this or that activity.

Dobrawa: Thank you for the interview.

Below is a selection of "Sardines" projects.

Ina Aszkielowicz - Premium student house

Premium student house by Ina Aszkiełowicz is a design for an ergonomic student apartment. On fourteen square meters the author placed a kitchen, a living and sleeping area and a bathroom. A characteristic element is the platform separating the kitchen from the main zone of the apartment, where the bed and a drawer were hidden.

 Premium student
house, Ina Aszkiełowicz

A characteristic element of the project is the platform and folding panels

© Ina Aszkiełowicz

The countertop, which can be used for working or eating, has been suspended from the ceiling, and its height can be adjusted to suit your needs. The tabletop faces the ceiling when folded down. An alcove in the wall separating the main living area and the bathroom serves as storage for a chair, and at the same time a shelf on which, on the other side of the partition, the sink stands. The folding panels that form the fronts of the kitchen cabinets, combined with the cabinet fronts, give the effect of a monolithic wall.

Weronika Blitek - Sardine, a 15 sqm studio for a student

The space of the 15-square-meter studio by Veronika Blitek was inspired by Japanese aesthetics, which is characterized by a love of natural materials, simplicity and functionality. Due to its many advantages, the main material used in the project is plywood. This material perfectly imitates wood, is environmentally friendly, durable, lightweight and low cost.

 Sardynka, 15 m²
kawalerka dla studenta, Blitek Łazienka autorstwa Weroniki

The author was inspired by Japanese ethics

© Weronika Blitek

The raw, impregnated concrete ceiling alludes to stone, and the minimalist floor was made of white resin. Due to the limited square footage, the walls of the bathroom were designed with frosted glass of small thickness. The glazing brings soft, subdued daylight into the bathroom, inspired by Japanese shōji screens. The bathroom and kitchen are located on a raised floor, acting as additional storage space. To create more space for creative work, the bed can be slid under the bathroom, while making the studio more spacious. The creative space is equipped with a large white closet, which can be easily transformed into a home office. The closet located at the entrance hides a multifunctional "hollow" with a sliding front, where you can read a book or hide an office chair.

Julianna Rembilas - PERFO

PERFO is a twenty square meter living space project by Julianna Rembilas.

Projekt PERFO

The entire project is built from plywood modules

© Julianna Rembilas

The whole project is built on the basis of plywood modules, which delineate functional zones and differentiate their sizes depending on the needs of the user. In addition, the perforation of the designed elements makes it possible to create personalized storage areas. The whole is maintained in colorful colors emphasizing the various variants of designed spaces.

Ewa Slodzinska - Student space 17 sqm

Ewa Sl odzinska designed the micro-space. The entire premise was based on a detailed analysis of the basic functions that such a space - intended for a student - should fulfill. The main goal was to design an open space, using the entire length of the room.

 Student space 17 m²,
Ewa Słodzińsa Student space 17 m²,

The raised bed hides a number of drawers in the staircase

© Ewa Slodzinska

Maximizing the space of the furniture development allowed to expand the storage function. Raising the bed additionally allowed the author to hide a number of drawers in the stairs. A pull-out top used as a table or workspace saves additional space - when not needed it remains hidden in the bed structure.

Dobrawa Bies

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