HOSPITALITYDESIGN: 18th-Century Kiev Mansion Transforms Into Restaurant Samna


Will Speros •
January 29, 2021


Ukraine-based studio YOD Design has transformed a cavernous Kiev mansion into the new Middle Eastern dining concept Samna. Totaling nearly 7,800 square feet, the eatery comprises both the basement and ground floor of the 18th-century structure.

The original aesthetic of the building, including solid brick walls and arc domes, is accentuated by new contemporary details. Three main halls accommodate 120 seats, while a DJ balcony, bar, and an additional hall outfitted with a copper bridge promote long stays. Abundant copper elements like the elevated catwalk are accented by solid oak, leather, and steel elements selected for historical context, while overhead spotlights cast the material palette in a warm glow.

All engineering systems are concealed across Samna’s five halls to instill an ambiance reminiscent of the site’s original splendor. “One of the challenges for us was arranging communication systems that are necessary for any modern restaurant,” says YOD cofounder Volodymyr Nepiyvoda. “None of them existed when the house was built, and that is why they would look foreign on those walls. We solved this problem in favor of authentic architecture and pure walls.”

Nepiyvoda continues: “Old buildings talk for themselves. They demand some respect and restraint from a designer.”

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