Moscow – Modern times have always threatened the fate of historical buildings. But more and more, designers are showing that architectural heritage doesn’t have to be sacrificed in the name of contemporary design – they can harmoniously intersect. Moscow-based practice Veter Design executed this kind of sensitive intervention with Grechka Café, an eatery in the Russian capital that retains the site’s pre-revolutionary spirit.
In 1914, prominent Moscovian bakery chain ‘Titov and His Sons’ set up shop in the site now occupied by Grechka. Inspired by the history of the building and its surroundings, Veter Design preserved several historical features – 1920s façade signage, handmade encaustic tiles and window trimmings were kept from the café’s bygone days as Titov and His Sons. When lacking original fittings and décor for Grechka’s interiors, the designers conceived reimagined equivalents that make the space relevant to present day.
A central shop window displays pastry racks positioned against a background of bountiful wheat composed like a floral arrangement à la Titov. Bentwood chairs reference the design of pieces Veter studied in archival photos; in the alcove hangs a vintage child’s drawing sourced from the State Historical Museum – Veter utilized the picture to create a holographic image using stereo-vario technology. Epoxy was mixed with herbs, flowers and the café’s namesake, grechka (the Russian word for buckwheat, a grain ubiquitous in Eastern Europe) for a massive table top that symbolically celebrates the country’s tradition of intimate family gatherings over pastries and tea.
Adding an anachronistic touch to the otherwise referential interior, Veter Design lined the café’s entry corridor in neon-blue LED lighting and hung sculptural metal lamps above the central eating area.