KIEV – Alex Bykov renovated an apartment in Kiev’s historical district based on the concept of ‘Constant Motion’.

The refurbishment uses a traditional manoeuvre – arranging the house around the hearth, or kitchen in this case. Bykov reinterpreted this familiar solution into a boldly contemporary scheme by creating a circular route through the apartment.

A compact design – measuring 8 by 8 metres – integrates several functions and storage solutions seamlessly into the small space. Space-saving built-in furniture and storage pieces were designed by the architect and made with low cost materials like chipboard and bricks from a junkyard. The most striking of the custom pieces is the library, which is built on a podium that provides storage space while separating functions in the living area. Levels created by the built-in furniture – the podium in the library, full height bookshelves and storage elements in the bedroom – make use of all available space. The highest segment of the bedroom wall has a glass ribbon window facing into the living area. This elegant solution allows daylight from the windows on the south-east façade to flow into the core of the apartment while maintaining privacy in the bedroom.

Wrought-iron elements are in furniture pieces, a mirror in the bedroom and in window mullions. The tables of the coffee and dining tables have wrought-iron legs – painted black – which create a transparency that allows the eye to move quickly past them to the black floor, giving the illusion of more free floor space than there is in the limited area. Black detailing on different furniture pieces creates strong contrasts with the light brown walls and accentuates the cubic geometry of the apartment.

Plywood, chipboard and bricks make up the main materials in the apartment. While they all have similar light-brown colouring, they have very different textures. Similar colouring creates connection between the different materials and spaces, while diverse textures make them individually striking.

Bykov designed two types of flexible bookshelves for the library which can be arranged in various ways to change the geometry of the shelves. Black paint applied to the edges of the shelves create dynamic geometries which accentuate the concept of constant motion.

Photos courtesy of Alex Bykov