Project area -  127 sq m
Project year - 2021
Location - Kyiv, Ukraine
Photo credits - Yevhenii Avramenko
Text - Ali Morris
Bumpy clay walls and rough concrete surfaces are tempered by smooth steel and polished stone in this Kyiv restaurant designed by local studio Yakusha Design
. Called Istetyka – a portmanteau of the Ukrainian words for eating and aesthetics – the restaurant serves up healthy fast food.To create the eatery's calming interior Yakusha Design drew on its signature pared-back aesthetic, which mixes clean lines with natural and recycled materials. The studio's chosen palette seeks to balance rough and smooth surfaces, geometric and organic forms through the use of wood, grey stone, recycled plastic, steel and dimpled clay. Raw concrete, which forms the columns along the restaurant's facade and lines its exposed ceiling, was also incorporated into the interior.​​​​​​​
"Each of our projects tells a story," said Yakusha Design founder Victoriya Yakusha.
"We combine modern materials and techniques with the long-known, passed down from generation to generation. Clay walls, according to Ukrainian tradition, have very powerful energy."
A wall of bench seating accompanied by concrete tables runs along one side of the restaurant, complemented by simple rectangular poufs made of recycled plastic.
The eatery's layout is divided into three functional zones. The dining area that runs alongside the front window features curved upholstered bench seating that wraps around large round tables created by Yakusha's own furniture brand FainaThe base of these tables is made from a sustainable material called ztista that was developed by Faina from clay, recycled paper and other natural components.
Based on a Ukrainian technique known as valkyvannia that was used for building traditional huts, the ztista material is applied to a recycled steel frame to create an irregular surface.​​​​​​​
The third zone is the kitchen area, which is located behind a glazed porcelain stoneware serving counter and shielded from the restaurant's dining area by a wall of translucent glass. Many of the objects and accessories used throughout the interior were handmade by local artisans, such as the macrame lamps and textured clay vases, which were taken from Faina's collection. ​​​​​​​
A series of rounded steel sconces that line the walls are intended to fill the interior with a soothing light after the sunset.