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Samna: A restaurant with the copper bridge in Kyiv, Ukraine by YOD Design Lab

Project name:
Architecture firm:
YOD Design Lab
6, Ivana Mazepy st, Kyiv, Ukraine
Andrey Bezuglov
Principal architect:
Volodimyr Nepiyvoda, Dmytro Bonesko
Design team:
Volodimyr Nepiyvoda, Dmytro Bonesko, Alexandr Kravchuk, Serhiy Andriyenko, Masha Draga, Nataliya Babenko, Gleb Melnik, Yaroslav Pavlivskiy
Interior design:
Yod Group
Nikolay Kabluka (light), Vladyslav Ogirenko (kitchen technology), Stepan Tsutsman (bar technology), Avk Top Metal (copper works), Stalkon (steel works), Tiger (printing on glass), Complex-V (sound)
Built area:
726 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Environmental & MEP:
Copper, solid oak, leather, and steel, glass
IAMTHE restaurant chain

YOD Design Lab: We started this project from the research about the history of the building and how interior design looked in such estates 200 years ago. We found out that the house used to belong to Constantine Ypsilantis an important Turkish statesman who lived there at the beginning of the XIX century when he escaped to Kyiv after the failure of liberating Greece rebellion, he had participated in. His life in Kyiv was kind of an extravagant cocktail of east culture in the Slavic land. According to some theories, Constantine Ypsilantis could be the prototype of "The Count of Monte Cristo" protagonist from Alexandre Dumas novel.

restaurant tables and chairs image © Andrey Bezuglov

We walked off-the-beaten-path of rethinking historical interiors in their original mode and explored how to create up-to-date restaurant on such a reach basis. It led us to use the range of materials, that were wildly common when the “Ypsilantis Estate” was flourishing – copper, solid oak, leather, and steel. Also, we decided to hide all the communications. You cannot see any wire or cable inside Samna’s halls.

building exterior facade image © Andrey Bezuglov

Samna is a restaurant of Middle Eastern cuisine in the author’s interpretation by famous Israel chef Meir Adoni. The venue is located in the historic part of Kyiv, next to Arsenalna square. The restaurant occupies the basement and the ground floor of the building that used to be a mansion erected in 1797 and called “Ypsilantis House.” 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.

restaurant bar stools image © Andrey Bezuglov

The curious fact is that this building went significantly into the ground since it was constructed, and the ground floor became the basement. The windows which overlooked some Kyiv street now make niches below the ground.

Solid brick walls and arc 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.

leather seat bench image © Andrey Bezuglov

The restaurant has 5 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 could hang out in a hall with a copper bridge, a DJ on the balcony, and a bar mixology. It is a perfect place for communication and seeping into the vibrant atmosphere of Samna.

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.

natural stone wall image © Andrey Bezuglov

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.

Besides copper in the interior, 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.

image © Andrey Bezuglov

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.

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 favour of authentic architecture and pure walls. – co-founder of YOD Group Volodymyr Nepiyvoda says.

restaurant floor plan

Floor plan

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By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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