In an Paris apartment with just over 200 square feet, it is almost impossible to imagine anything but the more bare essentials resulting a boring space. But that is where illumination enters the equation, flooding in to add depth and complexity to this abode. This, then, is a short story of light.
The architects, Betillon | Dorval?Bory, examined the limited space available architecturally, but also scientifically, testing the type and quality of the natural light to be found (and then suggesting what should be carefully introduced) across the existing interior zones.
A single wall was introduced, dividing the main bedroom area from daytime activity spaces like the kitchen, but not just (nor even primarily) as a visual barrier – it was intentionally and most-importantly designed to be a backdrop for two types of light.
On the ‘night’ side: a diffused orange streetlamp glow of the after-hours city that we associate with evening, which washes the walls in a more monochromatic direction (suited for sleeping and showering). On the ‘day’ side, a pure all-purpose white of the kind found in active spaces like offices – one which allows us to see things in black and color as well (suited for cooking and gathering).
Notably, the ‘night’ side lights can also be turned off (or overpowered by daylight), allowing the entire place to ‘open’ into a single space. If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that physical objects are not the only things that form (or inform) the nature of space. Spatial variety can come via intangible elements like illumination, which in turn can serve equally powerful functions in fleshing out a space – particularly a small place with little room for solid decor.