Architects: balbek bureau \ Slava Balbek, Andrii Berezynskyi, Roma Horoshylov
Project Manager: Anton Lebediev
Product Designer: Alina Vovkotrub
Project Area: 100 sq. m
Project Year: 2020
Location: Kharkiv, Ukraine
Photo credits: Andrey Bezuglov
HOOKS Meat Bar is located in central Kharkiv, on the ground floor of a four-story building spanning an area of 100 sq. m. The founders of the project are the owners of Protagoniste bar and Protagoniste Store, which our team also worked on.
Our task was to create an atmosphere of an authentic meat restaurant: brutalistic, effortless, and appetizing.
Photo credits: HOOKS Meat Bar
The neighborhood where HOOKS Meat Bar is located has a great historical narrative. Not far from our building passed the tram train tracks and stood the Church of St. Nicholas. Our building housed the Faculty of Physical Education of G.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University. The building itself was erected in 1914 for a commercial bank.
We made the decision to modify the architecture of the entrance to the meat bar. Initially, the space had standard, ordinary windows. We enlarged them by dismantling the windowsill and creating an entrance out of the middle window. There used to be a poorly attached outbuilding here, which served as the entrance to the kitchen of a restaurant located below HOOKS. The extension was completely dismantled and turned into a low entrance group, which laconically fit into the historic building's architecture.
We preserved the original materials of the space and added various metal elements, evoking the sense of brutality. The floor was covered in layers of parquet board, linoleum and tiles. We removed unnecessary layers and restored the original parquet flooring underneath. In some places, we replaced damaged oak planks with stainless steel inserts. The parquet floor enters the vertical plane throughout the space. It is installed with a built-in lighting system, which can be regulated through an application. The parquet floor in the kitchen unfortunately could not be saved. The floor was tiled in light gray and the walls were fitted with stainless steel panels. We decided to keep the authentic old brick within the entire space, restoring parts of the masonry, and treated all the walls with hydrophobic coating.
We equipped HOOKS with Casambi – a smart system that controls lighting through a mobile application, setting up different lighting scenarios for the various times of the day.
Upon entering the premises, one finds themselves in a vestibule made of broken triplex (laminated glass). Next is the main hall, equipped with seating for 40 people on both sides.
To the right stands a large communal table made of illuminated glass blocks, with chairs from Ukrainian manufacturer propro.
Perpendicular to the table is a bar (separating the main hall from the open kitchen) with four bar stools fixed into the centers of the floor tiles. Located nearby are stainless steel tables, which can be moved apart when needed.
To the left of the entrance are stainless steel tables with poufs for six people. Next to them stands a sofa on a podium for additional seating at the tables. The custom-designed sofa is made of sailcloth (rough and dense fabric used to make sails of yachts and boats), hand-dyed with indigo. We preserved the uneven quality of the fabric for a brutalistic effect.
The restroom's entryway was in poor condition, so we reinforced it with a steel frame and polished it to a shine. We divided the space into two functional zones: a washroom and a bathroom, separated by a glowing partition. The washroom mirror is situated in a brick window opening, and the napkin bin – concealed within the parquet board podium.
The structure of the partition consists of a metal frame with fixed-in cables, LED modules placed on each intersection. The partition itself is made of polyamide – a safe and environmentally friendly plastic. The material's peculiarity is that its parts are difficult to fasten together, so to glue the partition sections we used formic acid.
The doors of the partition are also equipped with lighting. They are connected to the network through a flexible loop, hidden when the door is closed. We used a high-efficiency light guide plate (LGP) to illuminate the door. It is a transparent sheet of cast acrylic, on which a linear matrix is engraved, consisting of microlenses that evenly distribute light. The LGP provides illumination of both sides of the door frame.
The graffiti was designed and executed by the artist WE BAD. Initially, we selected a small wall to the left of the bathroom entrance for the art piece, but during the sketching stage, the allocated area for the graffiti was moved to a more visible location above the sofa. Among other things, the client requested an image of a farm animal (citing, as an example, a bull). Out of sketches prepared by the artist, we settled on a drawing of a pig.
Credits: WE BAD
Clothing hooks
We inserted 5 mm thick stainless steel plates into the seams of brickwork by the entrance and restrooms. One of the plates contains perforations into which hooks can be screwed in, free to be taken out and rearranged. The plates prevent the clothes from coming into contact with the brick.
Communal table
The communal table is composed of a steel frame with square sections of old Soviet glass block. We had to saw down the corner blocks at 45 degrees because the glass blocks of the time had no corner elements.
The glass surface is irregular, which complements the atmosphere of simplicity and brutality. LED lighting, installed on the underside and the table's perimeter, evenly illuminates the glass block tabletop.
Broken triplex vestibule
Upon entering the space, one encounters the unique architectural accent of the triplex vestibule. To create this effect, we placed glass on an adhesive base and cracked it. Then, to make the structure safe and rigid, we layered the broken part with whole glass on both sides.
The vestibule handle we made in the form of the letter "H" – the first letter in the meat bar's name.​​​​​​​
We constructed the exterior staircase platform using a metal frame on a reinforced concrete foundation, lined with plywood and magnesite slabs. The idea of ​​its design begins with the street pavement: the platform and the first step are lined with the same tiles as the pavement.
We constructed the fencing out of pipes of varying diameters, fixing them to the entrance's outer street paving. A heating system was installed into the stairway and entrance platform to prevent ice from forming; it is automatically activated through a sensor.
Our team readily takes on challenges and loves experimenting with materials and design, aiming for a stunning result. In HOOKS Meat Bar, every square meter of the space is saturated with detail. We used atypical materials for interior construction and decoration, such as a sailcloth sofa, a polyamide partition, a glass block tabletop, and a triplex with a layer of broken glass. At the same time, when making decisions about the design of historically significant buildings, we are cautious and inspired to preserve the historical context of the architectural heritage. For us, this is a fundamental goal in constructing and executing a successful design concept.