Do you remember when you were a kid, and you would build forts and secret little hideaways in your home or maybe in your backyard? Those nostalgic memories are precisely what inspired Fernando Abellanas to build a tiny apartment under a bridge in Valencia, Spain.
Abellanas is a self-taught designer, and his secret little hideaway is an example of a new trend new trend in architecture.
The tiny dwelling can be thought of as a type of studio apartment. It includes shelving, a desk and a chair, and even a place to sleep. The walls can be folded up or down to make the small space more open or to close it for privacy.
Next, you’ll see the clever way he gets into the apartment…
The space is actually moveable. By watching the video, you can see that Fernando climbs up to enter the box and he pulls a lever to move the whole contraption towards the wall where a desk and chair are ‘floating’. Without the box attached, they seem completely random and without context. But once the moving box attaches to the wall, the home comes into place.
It turns into a neat little home.
Abellanas doesn’t live there if you’re wondering. The shelter is actually more of an art installation than a long-term abode. The shelter is part of a collection of spaces that Abellanas has said that he is planning to create.
Next, you’ll see why he chose this particular spot…
So why did he choose this spot under this bridge? Abellanas said, “These are locations that due to their architecture, location or size have become useless. People hardly notice when walking by.”
The strangely peaceful little studio is hidden away from passing cars and trains. You would never even notice it if you didn’t pay attention, which is just what Abellanas intends.
The innovative designer was inspired to create his humble abode when looking back on his “magical” childhood experiences.
He remembered as a kid he would build forts and hide underneath the tablecloths, and make secret dens. He wanted to recapture that sense of whimsical playfulness and childish freedom in a place where thousands pass by every day but give little attention to.
Want to get away from it all? Fernando has you covered.
Abellanas said that “It is also about recovering those sensations of the huts we used to make as small ones. To stay isolated but at the same time close to our house, the city.”
He also said, “We are not referring to an idyllic hut you would find in the middle of the woods but rather to tiny spaces recovered from the city itself, where you can hide from the city’s hectic pace,” Abellanas said.
So what’s the trend in architecture? Let’s find out…
The project is an example of what is known as parasitic architecture. Sure, the word parasitic doesn’t sound so appealing, but the term refers to buildings that cling, perch or sprout from others. They make use of existing architecture to reclaim wasted space or resources from a host structure.
Abellanas’ little apartment is literally attached to a concrete bridge. It makes use of its structures, such as the bridge’s beams and rails.
Curious about this type of architecture? Here are some cool examples…
Parasitic architecture has started to become a thing. You might be amused by some artists’ creations. For example, Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata creates tiny little tree huts that you can find in New York and even Paris.
The Pont 9 New Bridge in Paris is another interesting example. The architects wanted to make use of unutilized space. With so many places that have under-utilized space, this type of architecture can definitely be a ‘green’ way to create space in today’s world.
Like pop-ups? See how it relates to this trend…
You might be familiar with the pop-up trend, where shops, art projects, and restaurants will just pop up out of nowhere for a short period of time.
Well, pop-ups are quite similar to parasitic architecture projects. ‘Parasites’ are often a longer-term intervention in an urban landscape, however, whereas pop-ups are usually temporary standalone structures.
You might be wondering if it’s dangerous. It’s not really. The shelter doesn’t pass over a road. It’s still under a bridge though, so there is a bit of a drop. However, it doesn’t seem too dangerous. And the structure is built really well. But it’s definitely not for little kids!
Want to visit Fernando’s little studio? You might not be able to…
If you’re wondering where it is in Valencia, and maybe on your next trip to Spain you’ll make a point to go visit, think again. The location is a secret. Abellanas chose not to reveal the location of his “cabin”. He wants it to remain there until someone finds it and “decides to steal the materials, or the authorities remove it.”
Fernando Abellanas is a plumber and designer. He’s self-taught and prefers the DIY approach to creating and building. He runs a product and furniture design project called Lebrel. His project Lebrel has an instagram page.
Which family member gave Fernando the creative push?
Abellanas has designed and built everything around him from a young age. Abellanas reflects on his lifelong passion for creating. He said, “Since I was very young, I’ve been in contact with handicraft work.
Even as a child my father always encouraged us to take part in the creation, manufacturing, and repair of our own furniture. This made me develop an interest to find out how the different objects around us are designed and manufactured.”
Fernando was inspired by designers and architects from the 1960s and ’70s. He likes to create highly-functional products with minimalist aesthetics. He makes products such as lamps, shelves, benches, and bike racks.
We’ll see next what type of dwellings attract Fernando…
Abellanas has said that he is “attracted by the concept of huts: making use of small wasted spaces existing often in large civil works such as underground, roads, etc. I have visited these types of places for many years looking for ways to use them as living spaces.”
Every designer, or creator for that matter, has his or her own method. Abellanas has his own style of work. He said, “My work as a designer consists of trying to implement the concerns relating to design, handicrafts, and architecture which I come across on a daily basis,” said Abellanas.
“I observe, research projects, in a self-taught way, with the only purpose of satisfying my own personal motivation. With the experience, I acquired during years of work I collaborate with artists, interior designers, and architects offering them design and manufacturing solutions. All this I do under the name of Lebrel.”