Residential narrative

Four interior design and architecture firms, four residences from 60 to 260 square meters, four stories of contemporary style in Moscow and St. Petersburg

Apartment with a blue sky
Apartment with a blue sky by CXEMA

While the type, for three out of four, is the small-medium urban apartment in new or refurbished buildings, the result is that all the projects narrate personal experiences and ways of living in the everyday world: those of the clients. From the single to the family with children. The tools of narration are those of the architects: boosting natural light, adjusting artificial light, finding a rhythm for the space and the movements inside it, defining personalities, functions, habits, privacy, socializing, respecting past, present and future even in small settings, balancing the available budget, overseeing the choice of furnishings, finishes and custom items, studying the overall lines as well as the details, orchestrating atmospheres. As a whole, all this means using design and (above all) construction to speak of an everyday dimension, of people inside inhabitable spaces, who make them ‘human.’

Apartment with a blue sky

CXEMA, Sviridov Andrey, Lead Architect | Moscow

An irregular form and limited natural light in this small apartment constituted the starting point for the architects to invent the everyday habitat story of a young Muscovite musician-singer. In the total transformation of 60 square meters, an oblong layout at the corner of a residential building, the new arrangement of the spaces optimizes natural light in the daytime and movement inside the rooms: from the small terrace transformed into a luminous studio to the terse bedroom with a ‘blue sky,’ towards a living area that is more internal, less favored by natural light, but ‘ignited’ by a dense forest green on the walls and ceiling, and by the Spigolo floor lamp by Nemo Lighting. On a neutral base of whites and grays, the color bock designates the individual rooms and the divertissement of the surfaces, with sky blue in the studio and the bedroom, peach and forest green on the window frames, orange that glows when the door to the wardrobe is opened, lilac on the ceiling of a bathroom that ironically suggests the graph paper of a notebook. The furnishings and accessories are essential and well-balanced, with items by Normann Copenhagen, Hay and Ferm Living.
Photos © Kupriyanova Nataliya

Apartment C103

KIDZ | Saint Petersburg

In a newly constructed complex near the center of St. Petersburg, the apartment with an area of 103 square meters interprets the ways of living of a couple with a son, inventing a completely ‘different’ space for the latter with respect to a coherent overall setting, while orchestrating the artificial lighting on various levels to diversify atmospheres in a comfortable, contemporary interior. Almost total white on the surfaces, a wooden niche in the form of a cabin, a cluster of white bubbles as a chandelier (X Large Bubble by Jean Pelle), a climbing wall and one on which to draw speak of a playful environment for kids. Away from this tableau, the colors and materials mixed in the daytime and nighttime zones are the black of the Arrital kitchen wall, the wood of the floors and paneling, a palette of grays for surfaces, suspended ceilings, doors and furnishings, the grain of marble, the blue of glass dividers used as transparent/reflecting partitions.

An interior setting that changes its character thanks to a program of artificial lighting that balances different levels of visible/invisible, from built-in lights in the ceiling to perimeter LED strips, spotlights on tracks to more decorative lamps that identify different areas and functions, like the Cosmos by Lievore Altherr Molina for Vibia, the Parentesi by Achille Castiglioni, the 265 by Paolo Rizzatto and the Snoopy by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, all for Flos.

Photos © courtesy of KIDZ

Gray Interiors with Metal Details

Alexey Rozenberg | Moscow

In the project for this apartment of 160 square meters, the true storytelling happens on the surfaces – all the available locations – to shape an internal ‘landscape’ that also delves into and reflects the personalities of the people who live inside it. Large glass cases generate – condicio sine qua non – the spaces of the vast living area, to contain a colorful and eclectic collection of miniatures of movie stars, assembled by the client. Their simple transparency is countered by full, more or less opaque surfaces in metal, wood, concrete-effect ceramics and plaster, applied with particular types of workmanship and finishing, juxtaposed with each other in the same rooms in keeping with a ‘combinatory anti-gravity scheme’ that gets beyond the convention distinctions between walls, floors and ceilings. The surfaces of the furnishings and lamps also belong to this interior landscape, expressed through a palette of light and dark grays. Custom items designed by the architect include the cases, the kitchen counter and the dining table, as well as other tables, shelving and the bed, while the rest of the furnishings are by Amura, Aster Cucine, Baxter, Cattelan, Kaldewei, Kartell.

Photos © Michail Stepanov

Townhouse Studio#8

KRAUZEarchitects | Moscow

The privilege for the owners of this single-family dwelling is to have an individual three-story home with an area of 260 meters not far from the Triumph Palace. The architects have transformed a former crafts workshop into a sort of contemporary urban chalet, eliminating almost all the industrial elements while conserving the heights of the rooms, the beams and wooden roof. The habitat story here is that of a family with two children that wanted to create a dwelling in the present, but also for the future. Therefore the upper level, created under the roof and equipped with a large loft for play, becomes a special, separate space for the kids, designed to evolve with the transformation of their needs. The ground floor, on the other hand, is for a more collective, convivial existence, with a dual design focus on the kitchen and the fireplace, while the private zone for the parents is located in the entire first floor. Wood is a sober, fundamental presence in different varieties, for the ceilings with visible beams, the colorful suspended ceilings, the furnishings and wardrobes, the floors, doors and staircase. The decorative role is assigned to pale walls of exposed brick, wallpapers with arboreal themes in the bedroom, fabrics, and stones like multicolored slate or granite, as well as a range of discreet, enveloping middle tones. Many of the furnishings and complements are custom made, alongside pieces selected from the offerings of Art Nova, Piet Boon, Luciano Zonta, Gervasoni, Vitra, Paola Lenti, Christian Liaigre, Kevin Reilly, Supermodular, Apparatus, Cielo Ceramica, Vola, Agape, Kalfire.

Photos © Kirill Ovchinnikov