A conversation with Artur Sharf & Artem Zverev, founders of YODEZEEN design studio and winners of the “Interior Design of the Year- Eating Space” prize.

July 14, 2021

Founders of YODEZEEN, Artur Sharf and Artem Zverev won the LIV Hospitality Design Awards 2020 ‘ Interior Design of the Year – Eating space” with their project Virgin Izakaya Bar. They shared with us, their passion for the industry, the challenges behind their winning restaurant design, and exciting new projects.

Could you tell us a little about your professional journey? Where are you from?

Artem Zverev: This year our studio turned 11 years old, and for more than a decade, we are still in love with what we do and have completely devoted ourselves to creating and developing our brand. When we decided to create our architectural and design studio, we were only 20 years old, and we had no orders, no team, no office. We have always been dreamers, but now the difference is that we have a strong rear in the form of a large team of like-minded people and projects that reflect our vision. Together with these people, we have developed more than 800 projects in 127 cities during this time, and we want more. Growth is the only way.

How/when did you discover that you wanted to work in design?

Artur Sharf: We both graduated in architecture, and as teenagers, we knew where we were going to study, and we were right. Many architects, opening their own business, gradually retire, but we always want to be involved in all creative and technical processes. And till now we work day and night, spend hours on the construction site, and sit over the drawings until they seem ideal to us. The theoretical part has never been the most interesting for us.

How would you characterize your winning project? What is the main idea behind Virgin Izakaya Bar?

Artem Zverev: Virgin Izakaya Bar occupies an area of 405 square meters and allocates an onsite industrial estate of Arsenal manufactory in Kyiv center. The building was built at the end of the 18th century. And the essential task for our team was to keep the existing architecture and all the authentic elements of the building with a rich history. We were eager to create an atmospheric, conceptually complete space. Brick walls, rough wood, oxidized metal, bare concrete, opposed to the warm and pleasant atmosphere, created by the proper lighting and greenery.

By creating this project, designers used natural materials as a part of the space design concept. The tabletops are made of natural wood, lamps are made of copper, seats, and chairs are made of wood and leather; metal mesh performs both the function of space zoning and creates special decorative elements.

The open kitchen and the main hall of the restaurant are designed on the same level. It makes it possible to visually enlarge the space and focus on the feature core of the hall — an open kitchen.

More information on Virgin Izakaya Bar

Virgin Izakaya Bar

What was the most important for you when planning this project? What were the biggest challenges you and your team faced?

Artem Zverev: The most interesting thing, but at the same time, the main challenge was to match the classic Asian style of the restaurant with the historical Soviet architecture of the Arsenal manufactory. It was necessary to do this carefully so that these very different styles, when combined, emphasize each other and not absorb.

What does this recognition mean to you, and why do you think these awards are important?

It is always a great honor for us to receive awards like these. It means that while working on the project, we have exceeded the tasks set by the client and surpassed ourselves. And this inspires us to gain future achievements and convinces us that we are on the right track.

Virgin Izakaya Bar

Where do you get your motivation and daily inspiration?

Artur Sharf: We have always believed that our work is our life. And when we gather around us a team of like-minded people, the same nerds of their business, like us, we motivate each other and help every day. Maybe we started as two, but we look to the future as a big team whose members inspire each other. And of course, we would like to dedicate special gratitude to our clients who choose us, listen to our opinion and allow us to create everything as we dream.

YODEZEEN Team in charge of Virgin Izakaya Bar project

What are you working on now? What is in the pipeline for you?

Artem Zverev: Now we are very interested in suburban real estate, and soon our first gated cottage community, YORESIDENCE, will be launched. We have a lot of experience in this segment, and we know how to apply all this knowledge and what to avoid to make it architecturally and functionally perfect. This project is in the process of construction right now, and we have discovered ourselves as developers and enjoy this new role. Our goal is not only to create a project that we will be proud of but also to improve the quality of life for future residents. It’s a new mission for our team to accumulate a large amount of unique knowledge on how to implement suburban real estate qualitatively and build it highly aesthetically.

Virgin Izakaya Bar

YODEZEEN is an award-winning architectural and interior design studio with over 800 projects worldwide and offices in Kyiv, Moscow, Miami, and Los Angeles. Arthur Sharf and Artem Zverev founded the studio in 2010 intending to develop a conceptual approach in design and architecture. The studio is distinguished by high-quality design, international experience and is well-known in the residential and commercial real estate sectors.