in the historic center of kiev, ukraine, YOD has turned two levels of a 1797 mansion into a middle eastern restaurant called ‘samna’. occupying the basement and first floor, the new eatery combines original architectural features with contemporary interventions. when designing the project, the team discovered that the house used to belong to constantine ypsilantis – an important turkish statesman who fled to kiev following a failed attempt to liberate greece from the ruling ottoman empire. 

yod group rethought a historical building in central kyiv by creating there a restaurant with a copper bridge 3

images by andriy bezuglov

 

 

the curious thing about the building is that it’s sunk significantly into the ground since it was constructed. the first floor became the basement and the windows that overlooked the streets of kiev are now niches below the ground. solid brick walls and arched domes define the aesthetics of the venue. the designers just emphasized some authentic elements and created on their basis a new contemporary interior. they had to hide all engineering systems to manifest the unique character of the place. you can not see any wire or cable inside samna’s halls.

yod group rethought a historical building in central kyiv by creating there a restaurant with a copper bridge 4

 

 

the restaurant has five halls and about 120 seats. guests start their journey in the hall with a welcome bar where aperitives are served, then they go to one of three main halls with set tables. after the meal, they can hang out in a hall with a copper bridge, a DJ on the balcony, and a mixology bar. it is a perfect place for communication and seeping into the vibrant atmosphere of samna.

yod group rethought a historical building in central kyiv by creating there a restaurant with a copper bridge 5

 

 

there is plenty of copper in the restaurant’s interior. it emphasizes the nobility of the place and works as an impressive contrast with laconic shapes of a bar island, console tables, and a shelf with glasses hanging above the counter on steel ropes. the soft shade of copper is also present in the restaurant’s illumination. spotlights’ streaks reflect from the copper plates hung under the ceiling and ray to the tables. such a structure of light provides an effect of a rich and warm beam which enlightens the space most comfortably and never blinds in guests’ eyes.

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besides copper, you can see solid oak, leather, and steel. designers chose them as materials that were wildly common in when the ‘ypsilantis house’ was flourishing. walls are partly daubed with plaster and partly kept with their original bold bricks. one of the restaurant’s halls is devoted to vine. glass cupboards in its perimeter symbolized terroirs, lands that have an impact on the character of vine. the image of the ground was printed on the glass facades of cupboards. in the top part, it becomes translucent, and we can see wine bottles that metaphorically grow from that ground.

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‘old buildings talk for themselves. they demand some respect and restraint from a designer. one of the challenges for us was arranging communication systems that are necessary for any modern restaurant. but none of them existed when the house was built, and that is why they would look foreign on those walls. we solved this problem in favor of authentic architecture and pure walls,’  says volodymyr nepiyvoda, co-founder of YOD group.

yod group rethought a historical building in central kyiv by creating there a restaurant with a copper bridge 9

yod group rethought a historical building in central kyiv by creating there a restaurant with a copper bridge 8

yod group rethought a historical building in central kyiv by creating there a restaurant with a copper bridge 10

yod group rethought a historical building in central kyiv by creating there a restaurant with a copper bridge 11

yod group rethought a historical building in central kyiv by creating there a restaurant with a copper bridge 1

yod group rethought a historical building in central kyiv by creating there a restaurant with a copper bridge 2

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project info:

 

project name: samna restaurant

location: kiev, ukraine

design: YOD group

lighting: expolight

area: 7,815 ft2 (726 m2)

year: 2020

photography: andriy bezuglov

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lynne myers | designboom