Imagine a bustling airport terminal: something straight out of a PanAm advertisement but somehow also in Russia. Setting the stage of this amalgamated image is a monolithic cement wall that mimics the jagged curves of a Soviet-era building. Whispy airplane motifs appear to take flight but are anchored in place by a number of Brutalist details. The interior design of this Moscow cafe is both figuratively and literally influenced by the nearby Khodynka Airfield.
As the story goes, the restaurant is located near the Khodynka airfield which saw the first Russian flight in 1910 and remained active till the early 2000s. Asthetíque cofounder Alina Pimkina watched the site transform from a functional airfield into an abandoned tarmac and to what is now known as the Leningradsky Redevelopment Project (which includes a soon-to-be space and air museum). For the nearby haunt, Pimkina and partner Julien Albertini envisioned a space that could be both nostalgic and charming with hints of a Wes Anderson stage set.
Cafe Polet’s mise en scene combines masculine and feminine characteristics. Plush upholstery lines curvaceous booths and whimsical moon-shaped chairbacks while panels of brass bend and curve around partitions walls. With a delicate balance of light and heavy material, the eatery is organized into three major areas: a diner, cafe, and private dining rooms.
With so many different aspects coming together, the partners were faced with the challenge of creating a scheme that could be both bold and cohesive. Designing three distinct areas within one venue that could also somehow carry the same stylistic overtones was no small feat. In the main dining room, custom banquettes are lit by bespoke circular ring lights and arched sconces. Meanwhile, the eatery features padded walls that juxtapose geometric shaped brass panels (which, will patina over time) and oversized furniture that lets guests spread out. Upstairs, two reservable private dining rooms are intimately illuminated. Chandeliers bound light off of reflective brass dining tables. A mixture of custom lighting, feminine furnishings, and masculine adornments aesthetically tie the project together in one cohesive whole.
What’s next? The design duo will be working on more hospitality projects, including a Marriot Hotel in Russia with a rooftop restaurant. It’s also rumored that the new Asthetíque-designed Juniper showroom in New York City’s SoHo design district will open soon.