Interior Design

Architects: Slava Balbek, Mariia Kozachuk, Maria Povstyana
3D artistsNikolay K, Yevhenii Zavitaev, Khrystyna Vus

Tech support & supervisionAnastasiia Vinidiktova, Andriy Semenov, Lilly Bondar
Project Manager: Misha Butko, Nadia Martynova
Project Area: 75.8 sq. m
Project year: 2022
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Photo credits: Andrey Bezuglov, Maryan Beresh
Symbol is the largest Ukrainian distributor of premium segment brands. Their multi-brand boutiques span across 32 locations in 7 cities of Ukraine. In 2021, Symbol approached us with a request for a boutique interior with a fresh new concept: this is how we created the design for the company's first digital showroom with interactive online fitting rooms.
The Symbol digital showroom is located in Kyiv on Horodetskoho Street. Like all the neighboring buildings, the building at 11-A Horodetsky Street was built at the end of the 19th century. During World War II, Khreschatyk and nearby buildings were destroyed by bombs and burned in fires, but in the post-war years, they were then restored to their historical form. Before Symbol, this location housed a luxury watch boutique. The digital showroom is located next to Passage, not far from its other stores.
The location on Horodetskyi Street had to be not just simply different from other boutiques of the Symbol network but also offer a new luxury shopping experience. The digital format does not involve rails and shelves as usual showrooms do: customers can assemble a full look on the Symbol website, after which the showroom staff compiles the selected items, ready for fitting.
We focused on tactile and sensorial sensations and sought to create the effect of novelty. The inspiration was the actual items presented across Symbol stores – objects of timeless aesthetic, like a classic cashmere coat, the quality of which is preserved for years. This is not a space created according to current trends; our task was to make the interior relevant and timeless at the same time. One of the challenges for us was the multi-functionality of the premises and the combination of different functions and volumes. At the core of the design are the walls, which resemble waves of fabric swaying in the wind. This adds a dynamic to the space and unites it into one whole narrative.
Concept development began before the deconstruction of the premises. During the process, we discovered two hidden arches, and because of them, all the dimensions of the rooms had to remain unchanged, which limited the possibilities for zoning and also affected the size and number of fitting rooms. Soaring ceilings, just under 4 meters high, also dictated the terms.
Construction works also affected the facade of the boutique. The facade was restored, and the 3D sign of the watch store was dismantled. The previous entrance was located in the middle, but we moved it to the right, making it possible to create a large full-fledged display window.
Zoning and seating
The interior of the Symbol digital showroom is a single elongated space connected by arched passages.Symbol shoppers are greeted by the reception area located to the right of the entrance. Opposite the counter, a sofa is a waiting area for guests since the showroom also functions as a delivery point for online orders.
From the reception area, customers can navigate to select their outfits with the help of interactive fitting rooms, with sofas placed opposite the screens. Tables are placed close to the sofas, the tops of which have built-in Apple Magic Trackpads. The niches under them were milled to create the effect of a seamless built-in touch panel that allows you to flip through clothes on the screens by swiping your fingers across the tabletop.
On the right, traditional showcases are replaced by miniature stands with tablets lit by floor lamps. With them, customers can try on clothes and accessories via Snapchat through Symbol’s interactive mask filters.Inside the second hall, three classic fitting rooms await the guests, designed to be spacious enough to accommodate several poufs and allow guests to twirl in front of the mirror. On the large sofa opposite, you can try on shoes or wait for a friend.
The mirrored doors of the fitting rooms and the light box placed in this area create a chamberesque atmosphere with uniform lighting, tempting guests to take a couple of selfies.In the far corner of the showroom is a technical area with rooms for staff, a kitchenette and a toilet. Organizing storage was another task we were presented with, for which we used all remaining available space. We provided multi-tiered rails for storage, equipped with a ladder for convenience.All showroom furniture – sofas, floor lamps, screen stands and reception desks – is custom-made according to our own designs.
One of the distinctive features of the Symbol interior is the wavy walls with a metallic effect, which set the tone for the rest of the design elements. Its execution was far from simple; the contour of the walls moves in complex curves, not simple radii. After mapping them out on the floor, a frame of closely spaced wall profiles was assembled, to which plasterboard cut into thin strips was attached.
The metallic shine of the walls was achieved with the help of plaster. Among the various options, the most balanced one was selected, both vibrant and practical. Decorative plaster was used, with a metallic effect achieved by polishing with wax. Before installation, every curve of the surface of the frame had to be perfectly polished. Microcement is used as flooring on the first floor, which, due to its smooth and flexible nature, encovers the reception desk and stands in the exhibition area, making the furniture seem as if it has grown out of the floor.The fitting room area is carpeted to match the plaster and concrete, creating a uniform color block.
When working with the showroom's lighting, it was necessary to think about how to evenly illuminate and organically combine the fitting rooms, window displays and reception areas. At the same time, it was important to adhere to a minimalist style and not add too much visual noise. This is how the idea of a large lightbox on the ceiling appeared.
Wavy neon LED strips in the main hall and bathrooms are a play on Cheese Bakery's brand identity. The cafe’s neon sign also serves as a lighting element. To reduce the visual noise of the facade of the building, it was placed inside the cafe, behind the glass of the entrance door.
It was a true challenge – a horizontal lightbox of such proportions, created without visible seams, with a curvilinear contour that had to coincide with the contour of the walls. The construction workers assembled the entire structure by hand. The profile was made to order at the factory, milled and bent to exactly imitate the required contour. Thanks to the special shape of the profile, it was possible to stretch the canvases without any visible seams around the perimeter.
Lighting in the lightbox is made using a grid of LED modules, the light of which is directed to the ceiling and reflected downwards. Past the grid, two films are stretched over the profile: one diffuses light, the other is matte. Thanks to these solutions, we get a uniformly illuminated lightbox without visible diodes. The lightbox recedes at 160 mm from the wall in order to fix all the necessary wiring and equipment to the ceiling – ventilation grilles, cameras, fire detectors and speakers.
The wall-mounted lightbox near the fitting rooms consists of separate cells: inside each is a Smart RGB lamp that can change color and brightness independently of each other. With the help of programming, unique lighting scenarios were created that turn the room into an alluring photo zone.
Due to the high ceiling, we had to arrange a sufficient amount of light in the fitting rooms. They are illuminated with the help of hidden lights in the ceiling and behind the mirror, as well as a spotlight from above.
We created the Symbol project during the war: the implementation was put on hold due to the full-scale invasion. Work resumed in May. The cost of materials has increased by 2-3 times. Some people taking part in the project went off to war – builders, contractors and a project manager from the bureau.

Despite its compact area, the Symbol digital showroom has become a fantastic cluster of atypical and unique solutions. Against all the obstacles, the team managed to implement a project that offered a fresh vision for an experienced and demanding audience.