Sculptural Steel Elements Define a Moscow Home by Maxim Kashin Architects
This 16th-floor flat, located in a new residential building on Moscow’s Golden Mile, makes a gallerylike first impression. “A white 3D canvas with metallic installations in it,” is how architect Maxim Kashin describes the dwelling, designed in homage to Russian Suprematism—specifically the art movement’s founder, Kazimir Malevich. Kashin, a native Muscovite who founded his seven-person studio in 2013 following a master’s
degree from the Moscow Architectural Institute, was drawn to and became steeped in the subject matter during his studies. “I started researching the history of the movement and got interested in the connection between architecture and the fine arts,” he explains. “I was eager to understand the Suprematist way of getting from the flat surface to volume and to architecture, and to find new means to make that transition.” The easiest way, he determined, was to use the interior itself as medium.
He planned this super-white, 753-
square-foot apartment as three built-from-scratch rooms, channeling Suprematism’s basic constructs of geometry and color. The multifunctional main space encompasses lounge and dining
areas plus the kitchen. The separate bedroom has a sleeping zone that can be further enclosed via sliding, stacking panels. Completing the configuration are an office and a bathroom. When
designing the floor plan, Kashin took special care to orient the walls toward windows so natural light could show the way from entry to living area.
But his main coup is the installation of sculptural steel pieces anchored to the floor and hovering overhead. The treelike object opposite the entry is
a clothing rack. Nearby, the central feature serves as both an island and a dining table dividing kitchen and eating areas. Above it, the third piece hangs from exposed concrete, an impressive feat since it weighs more than 550 pounds. With no integral lighting, it is strictly aesthetic. Kashin used 3D modeling to determine dimensions and shapes of the metal planes, which he cut from sheets and then welded together in situ. Left unfinished, the steel has oxidized to a velvety rust.
Sparse furnishings allow the space to speak, well, volumes. Kashin designed the lounge’s built-in banquette, covered with creamy faux suede, to rest on a split-level podium of MDF panels. Varnished boards of the same material form custom kitchen cabinetry. Semitransparent matting curtains the windows, which face the building’s courtyard and the Moskva River. Marble paves the kitchen, while polyurethane-coated foam rubber cushions the living room (it’s comfy not cold, according to Kashin).
The exception to the overall scheme is the bathroom, a riot of deep blue, violet, and fuchsia achieved with a single paint color that changes according to light temperature. The vibrant hues express a Russian Suprematist idea that color has superiority over shape. Lucky was Kashin to have had a client granting him literal and figurative carte blanche. Ergo the freedom to create the minimalist white interiors he favors.