Architect Yuko Shibata didn't want to pay rent on an office space, yet worried about blending her personal and professional lives too closely by working from home. Her solution? A "switch flat," containing movable walls and swinging partitions that allow her to easily convert her home to a modern office, drawing distinct lines between everyday life and work.
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In a video uploaded on Nov. 3, Shibata gives a tour of her Tokyo flat, demonstrating its efficient use of space. The apartment's most notable feature is its rolling wall, weighing in 1,450 pounds. This pine-paneled partition glides over Shibata's table, transforming it from a dining room table into a desk with one hard tug. Shibata also built in a swinging bookshelf that easily closes off her bedroom from an additional office/library space. She tells Design Milk that this partition "creates a passage making it possible to approach the shelf from the office, without passing through the bedroom." 

According to her website, Shibata was born in Japan and received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kyoto Seika University in 2002. Therefore, when reimagining her apartment as a dual office space, she was able to design the home plans herself. However, Shibata explains in the video below that the apartment building's box frame floor plan, complete with reinforced concrete, prevented her from tackling any major construction within the unit, and she decided to get creative as a result.

When asked how much these "switch flat" modifications cost, Shibata states that she spent the Japanese equivalent of only $7,000, which is essentially what she would have paid in rent for three months in an office space. However, the change of scenery that this unique space affords her is invaluable: The apartment lends peace and balance to her busy working life with the simple swing of a sliding wall room divider.