Peter Safiullin, the founder of the Yaratam architectural bureau, has identified for himself the basic rule in working on public spaces: design should not dominate people. And in the project of this cafe, I followed him in every possible way.

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

“When it comes to public institutions, especially online ones, the concept of ”author” is blurred here, because there are a lot of tasks, references, mandatory elements that should be present in the interior,” says Peter Safiullin. – The menu on the wall, which you see differently, but they have already done so; a showcase for juices, which has already been bought… This is a compromise story””

Peter had already worked with these clients — the owners of the Kazan chain of cafes and pastry shops “Smorodina” – before: he gave small consultations on lighting, furniture, arrangement, sometimes he made something to order at his Yaratam furniture factory. But I’ve never done a full-fledged project for them. “It was planned to open a new cafe point, and customers wanted to do it with me from beginning to end. That is, on the one hand, this is not the first experience of our interaction, but on the other hand, it is absolutely new”” Safiullin admits.

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

Space for a cafe was found on the first floor of a new residential building in the center of Kazan. A large rectangular room of about 200 m2 was distinguished by two large display windows, two of which overlook a busy street, and two more – into the courtyard. “The brief from the customers was very clear and understandable in terms of functionality,” recalls Peter. “They immediately stated how many entrances and exits were needed, where the bathroom should be, how the cash register should stand, the counter.” The whole square together with Ilia Guzairova and Ramilya Mennebayeva (Yaratam team) Peter divided it roughly in half into a hall from the street side and a kitchen from the courtyard side. 

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

In total, the work on the project took about four months, along with the implementation, construction and decoration work. “More time was spent on constructive work: layout, tile layout (we came up with a complex floor); less on the decorator, with which Anna Isupova helped. Since this is a monofunctional room, it was easier with it, the image somehow immediately formed. We didn’t do 3D visualizations, all we had were two collages that were immediately coordinated,” says the author of the project.

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

The clients themselves actively participated in the processes. “Firstly, they generally like to control all their business processes, and secondly, we had a fairly limited budget, so I immediately set priorities. This caused a difficult decision with the floor: we took an inexpensive coating, porcelain stoneware, cut it and laid it out in a certain way, making our own drawing out of it,” Safiullin draws attention.

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

But they could not find a solution for the color design of the interior for a long time: there was practically no stylistic TK from customers, they only discussed that the space should be bright and modern. When it came to painting the walls, the client wanted to do “several” repaints. “As a result, there were about twenty of them,” says Peter— “but in the end they settled on the original version. I made appointments at different times of the day each time to show how colors work in different lighting conditions.” 

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

It was easier with the furniture, the Yaratam team did most of it themselves. “I originally planned to integrate furniture into the interior, which I invented and produce myself. It was especially important for me to fit it into the public space, since before that it worked more in residential spaces,” says Peter. “I really wanted to emphasize its uniqueness, versatility and especially vandal-proof qualities (after all, this is a cafe, high traffic, other operating conditions”.”

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

The space was complemented by Luceplan lamps, unobtrusively referring to the name of the cafe. And the main focal point was an abstract panel on one of the walls. “I really like to insert small art objects into my projects — here is a panel that we came up with with Ramilya Mennebayeva. This is the first thing you see when you come in, such an “appetizer”: first the panel, and then everything else.”

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

Nevertheless, Peter admits“ “I try to make the interior not very noticeable, so that there is no feeling that they tried hard. At the same time, it should give the impression of “design” in the good sense of the word: design should not dominate people. Of course, many people criticize this approach, and when working with other spaces, I do not always adhere to this position, but in this case it was the balance between space and images that was important to me.”

Кафе-кондитерская “Смородина” в Казани

Photo: Ivan Blagushin

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