Sergey Makhno Architecs   •   We art the world!
Build regardless: Innovation Academy DTEK in 6 months

What: The implementation of the interior design for a business platform that specializes in corporate education | Where: Kyiv, UNIT.City | How: 6 months from an idea to the first student | The main idea: space that fills with energy | Area: 3 234 sq. m.

BIO     •     CLIENT     •     TEAM     •     WHAT WE NEEDED TO DO     •     WHAT WE REALLY DID     •     VIDEO TOUR     •     DETAILS     •     F*CK-UPS

DTEK is a Ukrainian energy company, the largest private investor in the energy sector of the country. In 2018 the investments were at the amount of 20 billion UAH. The company employs 70 thousand employees. One of the main directions is the Academy DTEK business platform, which specializes in corporate education and training of state sector employees. For the second direction, it received the "gold" of Global CCU Award 2019 in Brazil.


Usually, we work in teams of 2-3 specialists: an architect or interior designer plus design engineer. But due to the strict deadline, we had to call for heavyweights. Together we defined the stylistic direction, we argued, discussed the options, lingered around when others have already left. And together we were glad when the ideas were a success. Sometimes it took several hours from the moment of the first visualization to submitting drawings directly to the construction.

KAN development company was responsible for constructing a new building in Ukrainian Silicon Valley UNIT.City for Academy DTEK. When in the summer of 2018 Sergey Makhno Architects team met the representatives of the Academy DTEK only four floors out six were ready. Sergey, with all his optimism and vigor, stated a sentence: "Year and no less." To what customers said: "We have the opening in 6 months. Six months and no day more".

The client is accustomed to global decisions, and we are accustomed to challenges. The design project had to be echoed with the values ​​of the company, to be ecological and durable as more than 200 000 students visit the Academy throughout the year. Audiences must be mobile and adapt to various tasks and the number of listeners. So the space doesn't annoy you, and the process of education is a pure thrill.

And, let us remind you, it's just 6 months we had.


We immodestly believe that nature is our main co-author, and it is the most talented architect ever. The interior design was planned as its continuation as if the interior was created by nature but with the access to the latest energy-efficient technologies.

We sincerely believe that the energy of space is one of the most powerful ones. If the interior meets the set goals, if it is integral — it literally "recharges".


We slide by the glass facade of the building, which blushes in the sunny weather — the windows are covered with a red membrane. The stuffy construction heat is all around — UNIT.City continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

The roundabout door seems to dispel a heavy water mass and now we’re in the life-giving underwater kingdom. Large-scale tile on the floor is a step by a water glider. Yes, you can walk on water — everything you can imagine is real. Hall of the academy exalts a human, its character, and will.

The interior is quite rich: the vertical gardens compete in the majesty with wooden panels on the walls, the led-tape hurries across the mirrored ceiling, the lighting sculpture tries to break through to the 2nd floor, while the ceramic canoes — the author's tile from Sergey Makhno Architects — set sail to the reception desk. But with that, the design remains imperceptible, it does not distract attention — because the main thing here is a human.



Behind the wall of the reception desk, there is a coworking library. Huge ears of authors Elephants armchairs by Sergey Makhno Architects carefully protect personal space but do not cut you off from the outside world. The windows to the ceiling and glass lamps by Expolight. Here, the light runs wild. Metal waves of the wall and smooth pebbles on the coast.



Also on the first floor, there is a cafe with access to the terrace. There’s a zen garden under the ceiling — among the blossom of flowers, ceramic Crust lamps by Sergey Makhno sprinkle the warmth all around the space. When having a cup of coffee, you have a chance to meditate and cleanse the consciousness for future affairs, thoughts, and knowledge.


Metal and wood that unite

We go to the second floor by strict stairs, sewn in metal and wood — the unifying elements of the entire space. The sheets of stainless steel are 0,8 mm thick — they are about the flexibility that makes the modern world a little less tough.


Academy DTEK is the first project in Ukraine that has integrated complex management and automation of the space using Crestron technology. The solution was implemented by the Ukrainian company D8. At the output, we have a single intelligent system that allows you to manage the spaces both locally and through the Internet.


And again, a wave of freshness — the blue, gold sands and dozens of suns. We go to the first audience of Excellence (the names reflect the values ​​of the company). Suspended brass ceilings aim at the goal, and columns are a symbol of experience. Peaceful dark gray and always young black.


The audience next door — Openness — is the openness to changes. 
On a sunny day, a translucent airy room is flooded with the red light.


Down the hall, there’s a mobile audience Unity. Thanks to the noise-isolation curtains, the room can be divided into two smaller ones or can be combined into one large one. Due to the Crestron automation, the mode is selected by touch and the control system understands which source for the presentation it is connected to, and where the event is held. The furniture choice is also very simple. With the Stalcon mobile constructions, you can change the seating zones in 5 minutes.

On the wall — the author's tile Tetrapod, the owner of Red Dot Award-2017. The design was inspired by few-ton concrete structures that protect the shores from the destructive waves. One Tetrapod had the courage to stand out and now everyone is trying to touch it, we even had to cover it with a protective layer.


The largest audience — Big Idea — for big things. Mobile internal walls can change the space beyond recognition. The right zoning is an important success factor for effective learning.


There’s one more coffee-point and the blue, the blue. By the way, the furniture and the floor are also delicious. They are covered with a modern eco-friendly material the Forb company boldly declares to be as safe as something edible and tasty.


To manage the "sun", at least artificial is also possible. You set the desired level of lighting and leave the rest to the automated control system: it will open/ close the curtains, increase/ decrease the illumination, and focus on the important.


Here, the main difficulty and challenge is the freedom of complex design solutions in favor of space where you feel yourself the very change that the world needs now.