In the super-elite, upscale suburb of Rublevka to the south of Moscow is a capacious residence, where the formality, clean lines, flat colours and utilitarian characteristics of late Soviet-era constructivism meet the pared-down sophistication of mid-century modern.
The owner, an affluent Russian businessman who is also a design connoisseur, commissioned Moscow-based design firm Oleg Klodt Architectural Bureau to work on his new family home. A fan of the Soviet constructivist style, the owner was looking for a systematic and objective approach, rather than a purely aesthetic approach, to solving design challenges.
"Our client had a very clear idea about what he wanted," explains Klodt. "He had done his research and analysed the market before finally seeking us out. He’s extremely well versed in design and follows all the latest global design developments. He had a very specific idea about what he wanted us to do."
The project began with a radical rebuild of the existing building, where the floor plan and spatial functions were completely altered and the entire shape of the architecture reformed. Verandas were added, and a regal spiral staircase was constructed to link the social spaces on the ground floor to the bedroom and private zones on the first and second levels.
"Beauty and comfort were important to the owner, but most importantly, he wanted to utilise the spaces of his new home intelligently," says Klodt. "He wanted the architecture to be refined, restrained and modelled after the late-constructivist style – with contemporary and well-planned interior spaces that bring to life the spirit of 1930s and ’40s Russia."
Working closely with his head of interior design, Anna Agapova, Klodt reconfigured the spaces to meet the needs and stylistic preferences of the owner and his family. An old garage was converted into a study with oak floors, a custom-designed fireplace, a vintage ’50s modernist dresser and Rose Tarlow armchairs. A plunge pool was built in a fully glazed garden conservatory, immersing the family in nature and sunlight and connecting them to the garden when they take a dip. The site of the property’s old swimming pool was transformed into a living room and furnished with a sculptural chandelier by Lindsey Adelman, wallpaper by Benjamin Moore, curtains by De Le Cuona, and an antique Venetian mirror.
"In this new living room, an Emmanuel Babled coffee table carved from solid marble, and a vintage-style Bassam Fellows armchair and ottoman, perfectly complement photographs of architectural monuments like the Hagia Sophia basilica in Istanbul and the Château de Versailles," says Agapova. In the dining room are pieces by Kravet and Walter Knoll, and a painted ceiling mural similar in style to the works of famous Soviet modernist painter Alexander Deineka.
The kitchen is furnished with Jurassic marble floors by Benetti, beautifully grained timber cabinetry, original black walnut chairs by George Nakashima, a banquette sofa by Vladimir Kagan and a modern replica of a '50s Joaquim Tenreiro dining table. These meticulously selected pieces help elevate the kitchen so it functions not just as a meal preparation space, but also as an additional recreation area where guests can linger during social events.
"We had to make the kitchen unobtrusive, so it wouldn’t dominate the interior concept," says Klodt. "We enclosed the kitchen in walnut panelling that conceals built-in storage spaces, then extended this panelling along the corridor and into the hallway. The result was continuous visual consistency from one room to the next, and the seamless integration of storage space."
Large windows were fitted in all the rooms to draw in an abundance of natural light. A spectacular round skylight was fitted above the large gallery space at the centre of the residence, flooding the core of the property with sunlight during the day.
Working with a simple and refined colour palette, the designers selected only high-quality materials and iconic designer furniture. To them, this was critical in achieving the desired effect. "Many areas are fitted with oak parquet flooring, while the bathroom has teak timber finishes and a Jurassic marble mosaic to create a substantial and luxurious feel," says Agapova. "The outcome is the expression of nostalgic elegance through contemporary furnishings and materials."
By making thoughtful choices about everything from the architecture to the furniture, and by combining iconic modernist furniture with treasured vintage originals, Oleg Klodt Architectural Bureau has created a graceful home where the dignity and grandeur of the former USSR lives on.