elii [oficina de arquitectura]


086 · flap!

Deploying spaces

Complete refurbishment of a home in Madrid


Flap! is a complete refurbishment project for a family that is moving to a house on the ground floor of an isolated house, surrounded by a courtyard that is shared by three owners.


The main purpose of the project is to completely renovate this old structure, optimising the use of the space, by using simple mechanisms of folding, drop-down and sliding panels to configure different domestic layouts, always favouring the connection with the perimeter courtyard. The proposal is based on a simple premise: the supporting wall that crosses the floor marks the separation between the public area of the house and the private area (bedrooms, toilet, bathroom and laundry room).


The public area comprises the kitchen, dining room and living room. It is a continuous space that includes two partition mechanisms to create different arrangements. The first partition is transparent and is formed by folding and sliding panels. It can be used to separate the living room from the kitchen while maintaining the spatial and visual continuity and allowing light through the openings. The second partition is deployed from the wall to separate an office or guest room opposite the bedrooms, thus guaranteeing the privacy of this room with opaque panels. All the partition elements allow the partial opening and/or closing of spaces with a simple ‘flap!’.


Within the private area, the damp section separates the bedrooms so as to ensure privacy. The bathroom and laundry room area is arranged in such a way as to use the passages as functional elements to optimise the spaces. This space is lower so that a suitcase wardrobe can be built into the top section.


The old structure maintains its white finish so as to receive as much natural light as possible. The new elements of the public area are finished with ash wood and pine wood. The surfaces of the partitions are either covered in wallpaper (so a different pattern can be applied at a later stage to change the image) or finished in ash wood. The woodwork of the inside is done with white panels. The hall that connects the public and private areas has a continuous wooden surface, while the doors and panels are finished in white on the inside of the bathrooms and bedrooms. The atmospheres are also transformed whenever the divisions are folded/deployed, thanks to the nature of the finishes.


Deploying spaces

1. One space, many spaces. Flap! is a flexible home. Several simple partitioning devices are folded and deployed depending on the configuration of the house to adapt to the everyday activities of its inhabitants.

Multiplying spaces.

2. What’s happened? This wasn’t like this yesterday...  These elements transform the house and turn an open space with pale colours into one divided into rooms with lively colours and wood textures. The materiality of the divisions helps alter the atmosphere of the rooms, as if they were film sets, so as to live every day in a different stage (#domestictheater).

Every home is a theatre. Every day is a rehearsal.

3. Open or closed, continuous or separate. The partitions are designed to control the light and privacy. The one in the kitchen guarantees the spatial continuity and natural lighting. The one for the guests separates the private space whenever necessary.

Partitions that regulate privacy.

4. Different atmospheres. The varying nature of the finishes of the divisions configures different atmospheres whenever the panels are folded/deployed.

Different atmospheres are just a ‘flap!’ away.

5. System adaptations. This project is part of a series on transformable domestic spaces (#livinginablackbox) developed by the elii architecture office. In all cases, the system is adapted to the tastes, the way of living and the collective imagination of its inhabitants. If our lives can vary so much, shouldn’t the spaces where we live be more flexible?

Adaptable spaces.

  • Architects:
  • elii - Uriel Fogué, Eva Gil, Carlos Palacios
  • Architect Team Leader:
  • elii - Ana López
  • tEAM:
  • elii - Ana Castaño, María Rodríguez, Irene de Santos
  • Constructor:
  • ALJI Construcciones
  • Carpentry:
  • Alfredo Merino Caldas
  • Photography and vídeo:
  • Miguel de Guzmán, Rocío Romero
  • Area:
  • 77,44m2
  • Date:
  • 2016
  • Location:
  • Madrid