Kyiv Food Market

balbek bureau drew inspiration from a building’s rich history to deliver the design for the Kiev Food Market, located within a former military arsenal built at the end of the 18th century.

  • area / size 21,527 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Location Kyiv, Ukraine,
  • The co-founders’ concept was to collect the best Kyiv restaurants under one roof, where each of them would showcase their dishes. A starting point in space planning was a circular placement of the food court along the perimeter of the space. It formed an atrium with approximately 300 seating places in the center. Since it was necessary to keep the original atrium height, all auxiliary spaces were placed right above the food units.

    Since no provision for telecommunications was made in the original architectural design, the project’s challenge was the lack of modern infrastructure. The issue was resolved by concealing various engineering solutions from public view underground.

    The geometry of the façade windows was left in its original appearance, confining restoration work to the mere replacement of the glass. The wall on the opposite side of the hall was completely bricked up, but during the project development it was reopened. Inserts in the walls, where the brickwork is different in layout and shape were left as reminders of the building’s rich past.

    The peculiarity of the building is its access to the daylight coming through skylights of the roof. The main bearing structure of the roof and trusses were preserved in their authentic form. The lathing of the roof was dismantled, then restored, repainted, reinforced and finally reinstalled.

    Level 1, besides being the main stage where events unfold, also plays a major functional role and differs both in its mood and the type of seating. High bar or half-bar counters dominate here, while the tables are mostly of the communal type, with a minimum of 4 seating places. There is less distance between them, which encourages communication and creates a greater people flow. Counters for the standing places are made of matt marble countertops on cold-rolled steel sheet frames.

    All individual food units feature the same design style. Food serving counter that is 27 m long (3 meters per food unit) stretches in a single line. The counter is tiled in various textures, creating a uniform appearance on entering a unit kitchen, without ruining the overall design concept. The durable self-leveling floor was designed for the intended use of the entire level.

    In addition to food courts, with their laconic and restrained design, there is a round bar counter with a green marble tabletop on Level 1. It is atypical for such places since station installation is considered to be quite complex.

    Level 2, on the other hand, differs in tone and purpose, which makes it quite different from Level 1. The top of the marble bar counters is accented with shiny brass shelf frames above them. The hall features both standard four-seating tables and communal ones. The distance between them was pre-determined by the owners to create a quiet atmosphere on Level 2. Also, there is a private room on Level 2, the so-called show kitchen, that has two main functions. It could be used for master classes or presentations.

    A wine rack with the bar on Level 2 has become the main focal point of the place. It is the first thing that catches the eyes of the Kyiv Food Market visitors.

    The primary style of the entire complex was adhered to while designing the interiors. Thus, the walls were left bare, revealing authentic brick, that was originally used to build the entire Arsenal architectural ensemble. The brickwork was covered with a special finishing, the formula and color of which had been developed by a conservation professional specifically for this project, to accurately reproduce the shade of the original brickwork. The metal lining of the walls on Level 2, for which each leaf was bent individually (and which produced a “corrugation” effect), could be considered a modern accent in design.

    Level 3 of the project has become an observation point providing a spectacular view of Arsenalna metro station and surrounding areas.

    The distinctiveness of the architectural monument determined the technical restrictions while designing the restrooms. Hence, the architecture team provided the facility with the main functionality and followed the industrial minimalism in design.

    Design: balbek bureau
    Photography: Yevhenii Avramenko