V12 Architects have just finished SoupMaker Café, a new project in the centre of Moscow in the former Soviet printing house “Red Proletarian”, redeveloped now into a large business centre. As the name suggests, the café makes and serves a variety of seasonal soups, but the menu goes well beyond them.
The architects worked with a space, very long and narrow in plan, with 5-meter high ceilings and large floor-to-ceiling glazing on the main facade. Due to this, the kitchen, lavatories and storage rooms have been squeezed into a two-storeyed box at the very back. The space left is tiled with metal profiles and the niches are accompanied by neon signs tipping off the rooms’ functions. The manager’s office on the second floor is masked by spy mirror film. The ceilings and ventilation have been painted in neutral gray. The original wall cladding was partly restored and fixed with translucent lacquer. The floor surface and tables are coated with microcement.
The interior concept represents a combination of an industrial building shell and a bright yellow-painted plywood bar counter finished in an old Japanese wood technique. The counter is an important zoning element of the entire space and serves several purposes: it is a product display, a service area, a cash desk and a communal table with a plant pot in it at the same time.
The café has got two entrances, from the outside and from the inside, for visitors from the business centre. The seats and tables are arranged along the pass between the two. This provides a bunch of opportunities for visitors: long tables for big companies, small tables for two people, and bar stools at the counter for one person.
Lighting design is an integral part of V12’s projects. This time, Pantrac uplights (wall mounted luminaries) by ERCO have been used for the ceiling. They minimize shadows and flood the space with soft reflected light. The tables are lit with custom-made small wall sconces combinations and Par pendants by Zerolight. The plywood counter is lit with a long chrome track light, as well specifically manufactured for the project. Neon signs enliven the space and attract visitors from the street in the evening. Campbell’s lights by Ingo Maurer were used in the bathrooms.
Except for some pendant lights, most pieces of decoration are custom-made according to the architects’ drawings. Another exception are the chairs. Osaka chairs and Koi Booki by Pedrali introduce additional Asian references. A Result chair, a legendary Dutch chair originally produced by Ahrend for educational institutions in the 60-70s has also fitted well in the interior.
Design and info © V12 Architects (Evgeniy Shchetinkin, Leeza Semionova, Polina Nikolaeva)
Images © Dmitry Chebanenko