Nat­u­ral har­mony

Ar­chi­tect Sergey Makhno’s Kiev home is an imag­i­na­tive fu­sion of the Ja­panese phi­los­o­phy of wabi-sabi with his Ukrainian de­sign her­itage

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents - MOD­ERN ORIENTA L Words AMY BRAD­FORD Photography AN­DREY AVDEENKO

Ar­chi­tect Sergey Makhno’s Kiev home fuses the Ja­panese phi­los­o­phy of wabi-sabi with his Ukrainian de­sign her­itage

You’d think it would be easy for an ar­chi­tect to de­sign

a home for his own fam­ily,’ says Sergey Makhno. ‘But no! It’s very com­pli­cated. You feel a big re­spon­si­bil­ity cre­at­ing a space for those clos­est to you.’ In his na­tive Ukraine, Sergey is known as the lead­ing ex­po­nent of wabi- sabi, a Ja­panese phi­los­o­phy that cel­e­brates im­per­fec­tion, nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and the mar­riage of old and new. It’s not sur­pris­ing that he was ner­vous about ap­ply­ing this ap­proach in his Kiev apart­ment: it’s on the 16th and 17th floors of a mod­ern block, which had to be ex­panded at the perime­ter to ac­com­mo­date his vi­sion. But as it turns out, the com­bi­na­tion of wabi-sabi’s raw beauty with the ur­ban ar­chi­tec­ture, look­ing out over the city, is mag­i­cal.

Sergey shares the three-bed­room flat with his wife Vlada, an in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor, and their two sons. His start­ing point for the decor was a de­sire to com­bine his Ukrainian her­itage – which is all about bright colours – with his love of qui­eter Ja­panese style. Quite a chal­lenge, you might think, but Sergey pulled it off by team­ing folksy de­tails with an un­der­stated, nature-in­spired back­drop. ‘My hus­band ex­per­i­ments in ev­ery one of our apart­ments,’ ex­plains Vlada. ‘The cra­zi­est ideas, we try on our­selves!’

Sergey is a pas­sion­ate col­lec­tor of an­cient ceram­ics and con­tem­po­rary art: he chose art­works with a hand­made or dis­tressed look that blend beau­ti­fully with the rough clay walls in the space. In ad­di­tion, both he and Vlada love floristry, and in par­tic­u­lar the Ja­panese art of ike­bana, which in­volves ar­rang­ing plants and flow­ers to im­i­tate the liv­ing beauty of nature. One such dis­play is sit­u­ated next to the stair­case, where stems are dis­played in a vase made from the wreck­age of an old house.

Most of the fur­ni­ture in the apart­ment is made of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als such as wood, iron, cop­per and ce­ramic – Sergey de­signed it all him­self, along with the wooden beams that line the ceil­ing. The glass-walled bath­room is the one area that feels slicker – al­though here, too, there is a wabi-sabi el­e­ment in the form of a sink made out of an an­cient wooden ves­sel.

The fam­ily have been liv­ing in the apart­ment for six months – has their dec­o­rat­ing ex­per­i­ment been a suc­cess? ‘I can say with mod­esty that it has,’ says Sergey. ‘It shows that Ja­panese and Ukrainian cul­ture can co-ex­ist in har­mony, demon­strat­ing beauty in sim­plic­ity.’

Stock­ist de­tails on p202

Stock­ist de­tails on p202

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