Corner Apartment, Cara Lazara Belgrade
Located in Stari Grad, the historic centre of Belgrade, this corner apartment is situated in the heart of Belgrade’s historic and prestigious pedestrian zone of Old Town, a site of cultural and historic importance for the city and one of the city’s most affluent and sought-after residential areas. As part of improvements to the city, the area is now completely pedestrianised and characterised by cafes, restaurants, boutique fashion and retail, and street performers, with an ambience, akin to parts of Italy and Paris.
Built in the 1930s the apartment was originally planned as a two-bed apartment in the style of the traditional “salon” that typified most of the apartments built in Belgrade in that period. In this arrangement, all rooms are accessed from a large central living space, which provided a central focal point to the apartment. A key feature is the generous floor to ceiling height of 3.0m throughout.
Apartments in this part of Belgrade rarely come on to the market and the owners were delighted to have the opportunity to acquire it, as it would provide a live work opportunity in Belgrade, close to family and in one of the city’s most sought-after locations. Although in reasonable condition, the apartment retained the original wiring and plumbing and heating systems, all of which needed replacing. In addition, the layout did not suit the lifestyle requirements of the owners who spend much time designing, writing, work overlapping with life. The owners decided to completely replan and refurbish.
Gordana Hay Architecture & Interior Design (“GHA”) was appointed to replan and design the apartment to align with the lifestyle requirements of the owners, and to take full advantage of its corner location. A a major decision was taken to create a large one-bedroom apartment measuring, increasing the live work areas at the expense of one bedroom, to align with the owner’s lifestyle requirements, A key challenge was the irregular geometry created by the non-90-degree corner location, which had created irregular room shapes. This necessitated that all existing internal walls were to be removed and that new structural beams would be required, to achieve the desired layout.
The new plan creates a large continuous L shaped living, dining, kitchen, workspace which wraps around a central core, retaining the original entrance hall, and part of the original salon plan. This bright, airy space retains the generous floor to ceiling heights, and allows cross ventilation through the apartment, from both the south and east facades; in Serbia, summer temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius. This also provided a means to deal with the changes in geometry, arising from the corner location, as the continuous space reads as a single unified whole. The centrepiece of this area is a large island, which accommodates both kitchen preparation, breakfast bar and office workspace facilities, complete with storage and chargers and ports.
Double glazed doors from the dining area, open onto a small balcony which looks into the foliage of the trees and cafes within the piazza below.
A key challenge was finding a contractor for a relatively small project, this was further compounded by having a prepared to enter into a proper contract, as on smaller projects, this is not typically how projects are run. GHA acted as project manager, appointing a series of contractors, tradesmen, and suppliers, some of whom were prepared to enter into a written agreement, others on the basis of a simple quotation.
GHA worked with tradesmen and suppliers, to design everything in the apartment, including kitchen, bathroom. All built in furniture, bathrooms and bedroom cabinetry, and joinery, is bespoke. Dining table and chairs are also custom made to GHA designs.
A key feature of the design is the 3.0m tall floor to ceiling timber screens, which have no visible connections, or means of connection at top or bottom. Typically, headplates and baseplate, would be used, onto which the vertical fins would be screw fixed top and bottom. GHA devised secret fixings with the joinery company, to allow visual continuity of the floor and ceiling planes.
Design and construction took two years, owing to listed building consent and in finding suitable tradesman and main contractor for the works. All of which are now friends and available for future projects with GHA.
Now complete, GHA, working with the owner, has created a unique space, permeated by the chatter, coffee aromas, music, and lights from the cafes below, providing the owners with a true live-work city experience.
Consultants and Suppliers:
- Architecture and Interiors – Gordana Hay Architecture & Interior Design
- Local Architect of Record – Vojislava Lopicic
- Demolition and Structural Work contractor – Ivan Djorjevic
- Kitchen, Joinery & Wardrobes – Goran Tankosic
- Wall tiling to bathroom and powder room – Porcelanosa
- Lighting design & supply – LightologyLAB, Belgrade branch
- Kitchen counters – compact granite
- Kitchen sink & tap – stainless/steel Foster Quadra and Foster tube pull out tap
- Kitchen appliances – “KOBEL d.o.o.”
- Bathroom shower sets and taps by Akvabutik
- Showers – Veiga shower base with ACO drain system, custom glass enclosures
- WCS and WHBs – Akvabutik Belgrade
- Freestanding bath – Glass Malmo 168×76 freestanding and taps by Emporio GESSI, Via Solferino mixer taps with handheld shower
- Fireplace – Ruby fires 8014 LS and granite surround by Šumadia Granit