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The notion of ‘retreat’ invokes more than simply escape – we retreat to contemplate, reflect and to create. Away from our day-to-day chaos, we are able to harness the creativity and focus we normally don’t have time for. Retreats are where we are physically and intellectually rejuvenated. It can be a place where books are written, design concepts formed – where one is creatively inspired.

A multi-functional (home/office) space, Womb (an acronym for work, office, home, base), recognizes that our place of refuge must fulfill a variety of needs. Designed to be four rooms in one, the space transforms as desired, while its elemental aesthetic maintains a sense of ethereality.

Facilitated by furniture and cabinetry that pivot, appear and disappear into walls and floors with a touch of a button, Womb can be configured into four distinct programmatic rooms that occupy the entire 600SF (56m2) space; kitchen/dining, work/office, bedroom/living, spa/bath, all within a spare, zen-like meditative environment. Allowing one to modulate the space to be as elemental or complex as necessary achieved through automated elements, Womb proposes an alternative 21st century ‘machine for living’ – concealing all that is not immediately necessary, eliminating visual distractions and quadrupling its spatial effectiveness.

Sliding into the wall, the kitchen unit disappears when not needed. When retracted, the empty space allows a table to pivot around, creating a clean work area with an unobstructed view across the pool and to the exterior through a floor-level window. Sink and work surfaces are hidden and accessible through covers that open to an upright position. Located in the center of the room, the bathing/reflecting pool and suspended stainless steel fireplace anchor the space as the only fixed elements. Both functional and meditative, the pool is used for bathing while also inviting calm and tranquility.

Expanding and contracting as needed, the washroom is situated centrally near the pool and fireplace. A “u”-shaped wall that conceals the bathroom opens to allow one to enter, and by virtue of its shape, can be moved to enclose the occupant for privacy. When not in use, the wall automatically closes completely against the fixtures, thereby regaining the space lost when unoccupied. The living area, separated by the pool from the work/kitchen space, contains a bed that disappears into the floor when not required, allowing a cantilevered couch to fold out from the wall.

Conceived as a blank canvas, the walls within the space transform with lighting, creating a cool white space by day with fluorescents to a warmer, intimate space with recessed halogen lighting by evening. The lighting is further modulated with fiber-optics that “paint” the walls with variable shades of colour.

A sanctuary where the balletic movements of the architectural elements animate the space, one senses a room that is alive, a retreat bathed in the nuances of light and luminosity. Enveloping the inhabitant in an environment designed to inspire reflection, creation and contemplation yet able to transform itself for living purposes, Womb is truly a base for work, office and meditation

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