An experimental spirit fills this unconventional four-level apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, designed and visualised by Sergey Makhno Architects. The interior is labelled by the designers as that very “Ukrainian modern style”, but this place oozes an off-beat sense of cool that makes it stand alone. The 200 square metre home for two is crafted in strong, refined natural clay, in honor of ancestral clay hut homes. However, this is not a hut but a four-level apartment, situated in a skyscraper at the center of the metropolis. Solid timber elements and Tetrapod tiled walls bring even more texture to the interior, jostling beside artwork by Adam Hall, Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Brian Donnelly.
In the words of the designers: “The philosophy of the Ukrainian workshop – to honor nature, to remember history, love art and be brave enough”, and this unusual modern living space is certainly a reflection of brave new choices. “The interior style respects the traditions of the native land and is not shy to accept its gifts”, reflect the creators, in reference to the natural clay and wood that abounds throughout.
Besides this rustic natural scene setting, bright colours and contemporary art give out a fresh and youthful vibe, and expensive Italian lighting illuminates each exhibit. A multicoloured modern rug becomes the centrepiece for a compact lounge area, and a piece of vivid art energises the entryway. Note how the natural clay is not demoted to mere background for the art in this home, it is given status as a completely independent accent.
KAWS toy figurines, by Brian Donnelly, stand boldly upon a clay plinth formed at the bottom of the staircase. Circular artwork makes a beautiful focal point on the tv unit.
A custom sofa is built around into the border of the lounge, in an L-shape. The edge-to-edge fit makes best use of the floor area, and provides a sleek aesthetic.
Soft lighting escapes from the edges of a timber covered ceiling, and from a bright beam suspended across it.
Sergey Makhno Tetrapod tiles cover a living room feature wall, with a natural hue, looking almost like a chunky knit blanket.
Dining pendant lights above the bar are handmade ceramic Makivka lamps by Sergey Makhno Architects; their rustic nature complements the rough clay walls. Black quilted effect bar stools bring in new texture, and their black mass balances out the KAWS toy figurines on the other side of the bar. A one wall kitchen runs behind the dining area in a row of grey base units–however, there are more cabinets hidden in the side of the wooden staircase design, along with an integrated oven.
A light wooden staircase cuts through the heavy clay walls.
The bottom tread is bedded right into the clay base to fully integrate the two contrasting materials.
A walk-in closet area is accessed just off the side of the stairwell. A backlit elliptical mirror glows in its entryway.
The compact walk-in wardrobe is kitted out in a lightwood closet system, which includes chests of drawers, garments shelves, and hanging niches.
A modern chandelier provides instant visual impact upon entering the master suite, and another wall of Tetrapods continue the unique wow factor.
Beside the low platform bed, a floor lamp adds to the illumination.
Zoning is almost absent between the bedroom and its ensuite bathroom, which merge completely openly – only the flooring marks the change of use.
Two unique bathroom sinks stand just beyond a freestanding bathtub, showcasing a decayed effect pedestal design that goes along with the off-beat high-texture decor style of the home.
Glass doors seal off a toilet and bidet cabin. The shower is located in the open space around the corner, where a semitransluscent screen passes the stairwell bookcase.
A gently curved border of timber wraps the staircase design as it reaches the first level.
Across a small landing, wooden stair treads are replaced by clear glass steps that rise to a small home library.
The apartment was not four levels originally, but the architects imagined that more function could be applied to the available vertical space. So, the team created an extra floor within the stairwell.
The rearranged stairwell created new places in which to assemble a wardrobe, a home library, and a continuation of the homeowners curated gallery.
A striking black gloss bedroom accent wall fills the corner of the guest room, looking like a gateway into space or another dimension.
On the opposite side of the room, an orb bedside table lamp shines from a floating shelf.
An impressive bedroom pendant light drops its elongated glass shade in front of the three-dimensional black feature wall.
Clear glass walls keep the ensuite shower seamlessly linked with the bedroom.
The TV is disguised inside a black gloss surround that stretches the width of the room.
On the other side of the shower, a washbasin sits on a vanity shelf that runs perfectly parallel to the bedside shelf on the other side of the cubicle.
Each wall plane is utilised either for art or for storage.
The glass treads of the upper staircase allow light to flow through.
Frameless glass balustrades complete the effect.
All non-weight-bearing structures were removed to maximize open space. The only doors now remaining inside the home are those that close off the guest bedroom, a guest bathroom near the entrance, a wine storage room under the stairs, and an exit door to the outdoor terrace on the fourth floor.
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