How to design an open space

March 28, 2020

How to design an open space

by Sara Costi

Open spaces are flexible architectural spaces without partition walls (except bathrooms), in which natural light is an added value.

The first open space was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Larkin Administrative Building constructed in Buffalo, New York, in 1906.

Open spaces meet the needs of modern living. Families are getting smaller, and there are increasingly fewer houses with lots of rooms and a garden and more apartments in the city centres, where every square metre counts.

The kitchen, dining room, and living room merge into one open space, which can also become a home office to embrace the age of smart working. Lofts can turn into a bedroom area. The whole house – except for the bathroom, of course – can be one open space.

If there are no structural constraints, the most popular solution in both restorations and new buildings is to merge the kitchen and living room into one open space.

This elegant and sophisticated setting, in which the marble-effect porcelain stoneware floor tiles from the Marmoker collection blend seamlessly with rough stone and warm wooden surfaces, is perfect for those who love the classic style. Large sliding doors open up to a wonderful view of the river, while the iconic Bubble Chair takes centre stage in the living area. The position of the house has guided every choice that architect Birgitta Hjelm-Luontola has made, thereby ensuring fabulous natural lighting and open space overlooking the river landscape.

However, if there are structural constraints, you can avoid closing off the kitchen by opting for a partially open wall between the kitchen and the living area. White adds an ethereal and dreamlike touch to these open settings, and soft white ceramic tiles enhance the colour neutrality and lightness of the whole composition. The next two settings feature Casalgrande Padana polished porcelain stoneware tiles from the Unicolore collection in Bianco Assoluto and the Marte collection in Thassos.

Flooring: Marte Thassos 60x120 cm
Flooring: Unicolore Bianco Assoluto

Having a kitchen open to the living room is one of the main reasons for an open space both in restorations and new buildings. The ideal solution is a kitchen with a peninsula, which separates the kitchen area and can be used as a table. This way, the kitchen is not just the place where to cook, but a place where to gather and enjoy everyday life.

Flooring: Ulivo Panna - Coverings: Ulivo Grigio
Flooring: Architecture White 60x60 cm

Moreover, if the height of the building allows so, you can exploit the vertical space of your home to create a mezzanine where to arrange the bedroom area. Furnishing a modern open space requires a few simple measures, like wood-effect porcelain stoneware floor tiles from the Ulivo collection in Noce and simple furnishings in warm, natural shades.

Open spaces are made to have more free space available. That’s why it’s advisable to choose minimalist furnishings that create a sense of continuity and consistency. For example, you could use large low-thickness tiles to cover worktops, tables, furniture, wardrobes, and partition walls to ensure continuity between the furnishings and the flooring.

Light plays an essential role in any setting. You can increase natural light with recessed spotlights and carefully positioned fixtures, floor lamps, and suspended lamps to enhance the space.


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