Last summer Ukrainian architect Daria Zinovatnaya was asked to reimagine a young couple’s apartment in Poznań, a bustling city in Poland. The task was not easy. The apartment was small – just three rooms – and Zinovatnaya’s style is big. The basis of her work is colour and geometry, much of it inspired by Russian Suprematists, a group of abstract artists from the early 20th century who employed dizzying patterns and bright, intersecting shapes. So how would she design a home that was both true to her style but not overwhelming? “The main goal was to make an unusual place that was cosy,” she says.
On the walls she went for it, employing a recurring motif of circles, rectangles and stripes. She muted the explosion of colour with subtle, jewel-like tones, and then chose furniture – both vintage and contemporary – in natural, soft materials such as velvet and wool to add warmth. Then she juxtaposed rigid lines and fluid forms. In the living room she balanced a cartoonish modular sofa by Erik Rasmussen with a pair of sinuous lounge chairs by Erik Kirkegaard. On a stark, brick-coloured coffee table of her own design she placed a cluster of rounded vases by Ettore Sottsass, and on the side table she put a toy-like Snoopy table lamp by Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.
The kitchen is the most intensely graphic room, and pays homage to Kazimir Malevich, a Russian painter. His most famous work is called “Black Square”, referenced in the onyx and ivory tiles Zinovatnaya designed for the kitchen cabinets. Dividing the kitchen from the living room she placed translucent glass in a simple frame, riffing on the way Suprematists painted floating forms against a stark background, the better to enhance the impact of their colour. “Roughly speaking, the space is a canvas and I am a painter,” Zinovatnaya says proudly. Except this is a picture you can live in.