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Compact Urban Living Unit by Bureau LADA

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The more the global population increases, the smaller the living spaces for each individual become. This effect is felt more drastically in the urban areas, where sometimes even vertical expansion is impossible and people have to adapt to much smaller living spaces. The Zauberkast compact unit is the model that Dutch architecture firm Bureau LADA comes up with in response to such a situation. Custom-made for a German filmmaker, Zauberkast is a block that hides behind its neutral white façades everything one might find in a regular studio: a couch, a bed, storage, a kitchen, a table and a bathroom. The unit is 67 cm thick and it uses every centimeter under the ceiling for storage compartments, reachable by a mobile ladder. The name of this unit is a composed word made of the German word for “magic” and the Dutch word for “closet”. And indeed, like a magic closet, the unit’s doors open, slide or unfold in order to adapt to the daily needs of its occupant(s). By pulling a white screen a bright built-in sofa is revealed. This same sofa folds out completely at night to become a comfortable double sized bed. The same way, the table, that serves as dining table or desk, is concealed behind a folding wall-mounted mirror front.

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When it is completely closed, the compact unit looks like any ordinary built-in cupboard. Only when opening the various doors does one realize that it is actually a “treasure chest”, and the treasure is a fully equipped house!


By concentrating everything in one block on one side of the room, the designer frees up the rest of the space for circulation. In spite of the reduced footprint of the room, the pure white walls and cupboard fronts and the height of the ceiling make it look spacious.


Storage is smartly located at the top part of the unit, which would have been otherwise lost volume. Everything is easily accessible by a mobile wooden ladder, and in this way the floor part is kept clean and minimalistic,not cramped with superfluous objects.