Istetyka by Yakusha Design

Designed in live minimalism, the signature style of Yakusha Design Studio, a modern Kyiv-based Istetyka eatery features a laconic interior primarily made in natural & recycled materials and enhanced with a living spirit of artisanal objects.

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The name “Istetyka” is a combination of two Ukrainian words — to eat and aesthetics. The aesthetics of ready-to-eat food is the main message of the eatery traced in the interior of the space and the dishes served. The owners sought to change the attitude to fast ready-to-eat food — turn ordinary into a ritual, food into an experience.

Guests are welcomed by the laconic entrance embodied in wood, clay walls and unprocessed concrete, original to the building where the eatery is. A painting depicting bread is a representation of the aesthetic approach to food as an art. The work says: less means more. Value and valuable things are hidden in daily routine. A small picture on a large scale symbolizes the essence.

“You don’t have to make something big to make it noticed. Here, we focused on the essence. And to emphasize it, we created a lot of air, enhancing the power of the void. Freedom allows us to see what’s important.”

Functionally the eatery is divided into three zones. The main area with spacious round tables by Faina serves for friendly meetings. Legs of the tables are made from sustainable material “ztista” based on clay, recycled paper, and other natural components. An artisan applies the living blend on the recycled steel basis and thus, from the hands, a unique, full of living irregularities silhouette comes out. This ancient technique known as ‘valkyvannia’ was used by our ancestors for building walls of a dwelling. 

Near the main area, there are separate concrete tables for one or two. 

They are complemented by simple rectangular poufs made of recycled plastic.

The kitchen is separated from the seating area by toned glass, elegantly framed with 
a minimalist rack for orders.

Connection with the earth and ecological approach is the basis of Yakusha Design philosophy. Special attention was paid to the materials and their origin. In addition, architects adhered to the natural balance. The simple geometric shapes of the seats are gently softened by the rounded lines of the tables and lamps. The coldness of concrete walls and furniture meets the warmth of living clay. Roughness and uneven textures are balanced by the purity and smoothness of steel.

“Each of our projects tells the story. We combine modern materials and techniques with long-known, passed down from generation to generation. Clay walls, according to Ukrainian tradition, have very powerful energy,” comments Victoria Yakusha, founder of Yakusha Design and Faina.

Most items of the Istetyka eatery were handmade by local artisans. Authentic clay vases with textured surfaces are taken from Faina’s collection of furniture and decor, part of Yakusha Design Studio.

Artisanal macrame-lamps elegantly finish area over dining tables. Accompanied by the rounded steel sconces, they fill the interior with a soothing light after the sunset.

Photography by Yevhenii Avramenko

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- by Matt Watts