by Jincy IypeNov 20, 2020
The basement and ground floor of Ypsilantis House, a mansion built in 1797 in Ukraine, have been transformed by YOD Group into restaurant Samna, which sits pretty within one of Kyiv's historic sections, next to Arsenalna square. Embracing a design language where the historic coalesces with modern sophistication, the transitioned space features pale brick walls, arched domes, brown accents and a sleek copper bridge that runs inside one of its cavernous halls.
“An important Turkish statesman lived here at the beginning of the XIX century when he escaped to Kyiv after the failure of the rebellion he had participated in,” informs the design team.
YOD Group relays that the manor has sunk into the ground since its construction, such that the ground floor is now the basement. “The windows which overlooked some Kyiv street now make niches below the ground,” they relay. The designers worked with the original sweeping arches, the cross-domed vaults and massive brick walls, softly daubing it with plaster to give a lighter feel. Existing wires and cables were concealed to hero the former, authentic features, and present a sleeker, contemporary interior design.
“One of the challenges for us was arranging communication systems that are necessary for any modern setting. But none of them existed when the house was built, and that is why they would look foreign on those walls now. We solved this problem in favour of authentic architecture and pure walls,” mentions Volodymyr Nepiyvoda, co-founder of YOD Group.
Five halls that house about 120 seats fill up the 726 sqm Samna restaurant that dedicates itself to Middle Eastern cuisine. A bar welcomes guests at its entrance lobby where aperitifs are served. From there one heads to one of the three main halls with seating that lays further, softly lit and spread out. After the meal, they can hang out in the area that houses a balcony, mixology bar, a DJ and an elevated copper catwalk.
One of the halls commits itself to wine and winemaking, where glass cupboards line its perimeter to symbolise ‘terroirs’, lands where wine is made and impacts its character. The glass facades of the cabinets are printed with images of the ground, and in its translucent top part, wine bottles grow metaphorically from that soil. The arched, domed ceilings round out the heaviness of the place.
Apart from copper accents, the revamped restaurant design also features elements of solid oak, leather as well as steel. The comfortable overhead lighting inside also glows with a copper glow, which reflect off the plates that hang from the ceiling, and onto the tables. According to YOD Group, the copper accentuates the nobility of the place and sits in impressive contrast to the laconic shapes of the bar island, console tables, and the shelf with glasses hanging above the counter on steel ropes.
“Old buildings speak for themselves. They demand some respect and restraint from a designer,” concludes Nepiyvoda.
Location: 6, Ivana Mazepy street, Kyiv, Ukraine
Area: 726 sqm
Year of completion: 2020
Designer: YOD Group