Located on a quiet street that is parallel to a busy boulevard in Alsancak, one of the most densely populated neighborhoods of Izmir, Turkey, stands an unusual interior conversion. Originally the brief called for the ground and upper floor of this building (which is part of a five story block of flats) to be made into a dedicated photo studio only. During the course of the design process, the client and architect teams Zaas, and Yerce, reimagined the space and agreed that this could go beyond being just a studio. The end result is a unique place that encompasses a home, a professional photo studio, and a public art gallery.
Located right at the back of the first floor, there lies a private living area. A ceiling tv mount allows a flat screen television to be suspended in front of the window glass, which has a view out onto the quiet street.
A double workspace also resides inside the living room, with the desk pushed up against an internal glass wall, looking out. A trio of floating wall shelves hold some books and pictures.
An unusual feature wall lines the opposite side of the living room, behind a run of white base units. Ambient lighting glows from behind the cabinets to illuminate the installation.
The residential first floor is reached via a floating staircase design from the photographic studio and gallery space. Each step is a metal 3D parallelogram frame, mounted individually to the studio wall to form the ascent to the mezzanine platform. The modern handrail design is lit by LED strip lights.
Just beneath the lip of the mezzanine, a guest reception desk is situated by a small storage wall with a bright yellow niche. A black accent chair rocks in the centre of the studio space on the ground floor, offering a spot to relax between photo shoots.
A small side table, beside the black and wood lounge chair, provides a spot to put down a mug of coffee during work breaks – or even to burn a relaxing candle on. The chair and its partner are positioned toward the view of the peaceful street, seen through huge black framed glass doors.
A grey gallery wall jags around the opposite side of the studio to the staircase. Perimeter lighting beams along its upper and lower edge. A work table is set up behind the guest reception desk, in front of a kitchenette and the door to the gallery’s bathroom.
Just beyond the landing at the top of the floating staircase, there is a relaxation area with a flickering modern fireplace and two comfortable contemporary armchairs. At design stage, the question was raised as to how a simple department could be transformed into a multifunctional area where different functions and settings for life could coexist. Solutions were sought to establish permeability within these functions, to create free flow between use and life.
The first floor landing joins with industrial style platform, which is a walkway to a home library area. Because one of the main objectives of the remodel was to maximise creative space for a photo studio, the mezzanine and first floor are designed to serve as extra space for photographic shoots if desired. The functions of working, living, exhibiting all intertwined under the roof of a photographic studio come together to fashion a ‘loft’ kind of lifestyle.
A chunky stone hearth underlines the modern fireplace in the relaxation area. The hearth is dressed with a grouping of clear decorative vases that catch the light from the flames.
Moving past the fireplace, large windows line the wall of a kitchen dining area, in which an island that combines both cooking and dining functions is centric.
A shining chrome cooker hood crowns the kitchen island with dining extension. A stainless steel sink is located in the middle of the island’s wooden worktop.
Sliding doors open the kitchen up to a terrace, which runs the length of the kitchen diner and relaxation space.
A jungle of plants line the long terrace.
Just off the mezzanine, a modern home office setup resides in its own private room.
The private bathroom is accessed via the bedroom.
Guest cloakroom facilities, on the gallery floor, have an edgy industrial vibe.
Bifold glass doors open up the entire front of the building. Visitors of busy exhibition openings can overflow out to the street foyer, on a wide sidewalk that belongs to the city and the department.
When an exhibition can flow freely between interior space and the street, potential visitors of the exhibition may pass by and peruse without filter. The area becomes a social platform where people can mingle in the comfort of the open air street, instead of being boxed inside the covered gallery.
The clever design configuration has resulted in the ultimate balance between separation and mingling of functions. The result is a fun space that can be open to the public, yet still offer the necessary privacy where it is needed.
Perspective drawing of the ground floor gallery space and first floor home interior. This section does not include the first floor private home office, which would be found just off the side of the mezzanine.
Front elevation showing bifold glass doors that open onto the public street foyer.
Ground floor plan.
First floor plan (complete with private office).