Empty place

three-level apartment (198 m2) in the suburb of St. Petersburg Rita Chumbash, Alexey Ivanov

Passing the gallery

Interview prepared: Lilia Gelman

A photo: Peter Lebedev

Architect: Alexey Ivanov, Margarita Chumbash

Builder: Yuri Gustov

Magazine: H (76) 2003

In the St. Petersburg apartment, made by architects Rita Chumbash and Alexei Ivanov, a minimum of things painted white and even just concrete walls, bamboo as a decor. However, to designate it with minimalism, fusion or the same Japan would be wrong. Using the techniques and tools that have been reused in recent years, the authors solved the problem much more complicated than a simple compilation. The result of the year of work on the project was ... emptiness A house of apartment blocks began to be built in the St. Petersburg suburb several years ago. The economical sectional principle, which was actively used in Soviet times, was adapted to modern needs - the apartments were divided by blank walls, so each one had three floors. During the construction, one of the apartments was acquired by a famous St. Petersburg restaurateur, the owner of the Japanese restaurant chain Ki-Do. About a year ago, she turned to architects Rita Chumbash and Alexey Ivanov with a proposal to realize their idea. "I wanted the space of the apartment to be airy, bright, but the main thing - clean. So that it can be easily changed. For example, throw pillows with flowers - and create a summer mood," - recalls Alena.Aleksey Ivanov: One Dutch architect said that the architect is the slave of the customer. It was just such a case. The owner of the apartment came up with the idea. We were engaged in its improvement and polishing. Alain loves Japan and everything connected with it. She is close to minimalism. So we had to solve a kind of virtual task - to make everything simple and empty. Alone walls.Salon: Do you also prefer minimalism?A.I .: I think yes. At the Academy of Fine Arts we were taught great architecture. And after receiving the diploma, the only way of self-expression turned out to be apartments - and so 10-15 years up to the present, when we began to build houses and shopping centers. So it turned out that I had to try a lot of things. We went through different styles and realized that all this is not necessary. Now we try to do a minimum of details. Minimalism seems to me something finite - it all comes down to a point. I think this is exactly what you should strive for. Minimum unnecessary. Of course, in a good way, when it is interesting and difficult.S: Did you have to change a lot in planning?A.I .: We removed the old staircase, punched several new windows, made a exit to the terrace above the garage in the living room, and, on the contrary, closed one of the exits on the first floor. I had to move several walls to maximize the space. In this apartment there were many alterations: to achieve the desired effect, entire walls were demolished - already plastered and painted. Many things were born in the process ...S: For example?Rita Chumbaş: Initially, the interior was conceived white. White and a little black. During construction, gray floors and gray doorsteps near glass doors appeared. All the walls were painted first, and then the idea arose to leave clean concrete in some places. In the end, I think it was the introduction of gray that made it possible to combine all three floors of the apartment into a single whole. S: White color, concrete, Japan, minimalism - do not bother you that the fashion for these things is gradually leaving?R.Ç .: It seems. But this apartment is out of style. I think this situation will not let her grow old quickly. Of course, there is something from Japan, but the interior is not Japanese. I would not use the term minimalism in relation to it - too many different references and anachronisms. This apartment is white, light, suitable for its slightly extravagant mistress. It is felt personality. Therefore, in my opinion, it would be more appropriate to talk about some kind of universal, urban style or even its absence. Rita Chumbaş: "The idea belonged to the customer. Our task was to bring her idea to perfection. Smooth walls, empty spaces, a large fireplace - the apartment turned out bright and light, ideally suited to its slightly extravagant hostess. In style it is a universal, urban style, rather even its absence" .