Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Artyom Churkin, a financier, his wife Anna Gorbatsevich, an editor, and their daughter, Eva
Location: Moscow, Russia
Size: 170 square metres with a ceiling height of 5.2 metres on the first floor, and about 2.6 metres on the second floor
Design:Annis Lender, Maxim Venzel and Kirill Fokin of GEMINI Guild
When he was looking for a new apartment, Artyom already had a clear idea of what kind of home he wanted to settle down in. “I have travelled a lot, lived in Spain and Budapest for a long time, and moved many times within Moscow as well. All of my apartments had certain zoning restrictions: I felt boxed in, and what I wanted could only be achieved with open space,” the owner says.
“At one point, Anna saw I was feeling beaten and suggested we have a talk with a longtime friend of hers, an architect named Annis Lender. Annis turned out to be our fairy godmother. Just a week after our first meeting, she came back with a detailed apartment plan.”
The budget for the project was running out, but the results were still far from apparent. Annis found herself in a rather tight spot. “It was risky to begin work on the apartment when a lot of decisions had already been made and money was running out,” she says. “But we agreed that we would propose a solution for how we might use the eclectic collection of items that had already been bought, and then decide how to move forward.”
They created a series of metal-encased structures reminiscent of elevator shafts. These connect the two levels of the apartment and contain closets, two bedrooms and the bathrooms. Thanks to the finish of the glass, it is impossible to look inside them from the living room. This solution maintains an airy feel in the overall space and fills it with a soft, diffused light in the evenings.
Bold industrial pendant lights, which were created specially for this apartment, are the main focus of attention here, however. “We wanted to create one large chandelier that would move on an electrically driven beam crane from the multi-media zone to the dining room, but we had to give up on this idea. Instead, we designed two pendant lights made from metal and glass insulators, each weighing 90 kilograms,” Annis says. “To say that hanging them was not easy is an understatement. We had to develop special fastening systems. Interestingly, these fasteners only embellished the lamps, bringing them to the next level.”
All the furniture was made in Russian factories. The roughness of details like the textured wooden facades and the unpolished welding allowed it to be made for 2.5 times less than it would have cost otherwise.
“Whenever I move into a new place, the first thing I do is put my drum set together,” Artyom says. It fits seamlessly into the living space, and the sound-absorbing properties of the materials in the apartment keep him from disturbing the neighbours.
“It’s nice when you are surrounded by such gifts at home. Works of art are not only valuable but also remind you of the people who gave them to you,” Anna says.
“I was working with deliveries of fruit from Spain,” Artyom says. “One day I received an order from the Tagansky district, which happens to be where I went to school. Propelled by nostalgia, I decided to drive the order over myself. It turned out that the destination was a gallery. That was how I got to know the owner and see the exhibition. I just went in for five minutes and came out with the black wing.”
The second floor hosts the private areas, complete with a bedroom, a spacious bathroom and a dressing room. The lighter and calmer colour scheme here is a contrast to the brutalist tendencies of the living room.
On the wall is a cartoon-inspired mural with fun monsters drawn by artist Maxim Hikma. “Eva will spoil the walls by drawing on them anyway, so we decided to just make it a canvas for her to work on,” the owners say, laughing.
Retro-style light switches and an outlet serve as a monster’s eyes
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