A contemporary art space transformed into a residential environment
Irina R. lives in her own artistic universe, — always surrounded by art, always immersed in the world of art.
She bought the house in 2011 with the main purpose of hosting a contemporary Romanian art gallery — with painting and sculpture, video art, installations, and experimental artistic projects.
The art gallery operated between 2011-2016, and the initial renovation project was managed by architects Bogdan Pop and Astrid Rottman from As Design 95. The project was nominated for the Bucharest Architecture Annual 2013 awards in the “restoration and rehabilitation” section.
Irina’s house was built in 1898 by the craftsmen of the time, with no pretense of high-brow architecture, then in the 1940s the house was renovated, and an annex building was erected next to it, thus the building complex became an architectural mix between Romanian neo-Brancovenesc style and modernist style.
A fresh start
In 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic and the subsequent quarantine, Irina decided to convert the former art gallery into her own residential space, as a her new soul project. She learned many construction and renovation secrets from previous projects, and the idea was to concentrate in calculated doses those design and art influences that define his personality.
I fell in love with contemporary art early in my adult life and developed within this medium. I have traveled a lot and have been lucky enough to enjoy different cultures and architectures, museums, art galleries. In a way I grew up in this environment, surrounded by it.
I didn’t think I would end up turning the contemporary art space into a domestic space, the project was a challenge in every way.
Like in life, when at some point everything changes and you have to make decisions. What do you choose to keep, what to add, how do you proceed.
I wasn’t looking for a specific style, my style may seem eclectic, but there are bits and pieces of me. They are a journey of my past, a present and maybe a bit of tomorrow.
I am a mountain of memories from which I build puzzles, connecting precious or modest pieces, perfect or imperfect, in a scenography based on wabi-sabi principles.
→ Irina R.
The kitchen was designed to showcase the works of art
When it was time to design the kitchen furniture, my only vision was that I wanted to display the engraving I had in my former kitchen, and of course, some other artworks that I love.
Minimalism was a natural choice for furniture. I needed the walls so the half-height columns leave room to showcase Marian Zidaru’s work (“The old man possessed by passions”). When I sit in the yard, I can see the artwork through the window.
I am pleased with the collaboration and understanding I received from MyKitchen Studio as a partner for this project.
The kitchen has become part of the house. I have a useful kitchen that transcends the idea of a kitchen. It can also be a place to read, work. It is a space where you can find almost everything. Including books, food for the soul.
→ Irina R.
Art as a lifestyle
Walking through Irina’s house is like a journey through memories in the shape of objects, decorations, and works of art. Her house is like a gallery with artworks by Dumitru Gorzo, Ecaterina Vrana, Valeriu Șchiau, Daniel Bălănescu, Nicolae Comănescu, Cornel Lazia, Suzana Dan.
Some of the works were part of exhibitions hosted by the art gallery, others were purchased directly from the artists’ workshops. Irina bought her first contemporary art drawing in the 2000s from Dumitru Gorzo in his own studio and this work still holds a place of honor in her personal collection.
The collection grew in the following years and became quite extensive, featuring paintings, sculptures, and artistic installations, including unconventional pieces of furniture, made by both Romanian and international designers.
Every house tells a story, it has the imprint of the people who lived in it. It has memory. It tells a story about the past, the present and the future, be it an uncertain future. I chose to keep various traces of times and people and add a personal touch to my environment.
My aim was to be minimally invasive. I like things that are unique, reclaimed or made from unconventional materials. Some things in the house I made with my own hands, and each thing has a story. Maybe that’s why the house is not ready yet.
A house is never ready, it’s a work in progress, just like people.
→ Irina R.
What was our approach for the project?
What Irina wanted was a “kitchen that is not a kitchen”.
I designed this kitchen project in relation to the wooden ceiling that gives the room a certain rustic mood in a modern decor. We are in a mezzanine space, so we “flattened” the kitchen below eye level to widen the optical space.
There was no use for tall columns, so I opted for semi-height columns. There was no need for suspended units (yet I integrated a small metal shelf) to allow more space for the art on the walls, and thus created an almost invisible, yet fully functional piece of furniture.
In one of the theories of the Italian architect Piero Lissoni, an artist’s house needs spaces of artistic “contamination”, spaces that allow the host’s own expression, spaces that are not defined by the furniture, but by the host’s personality. Irina was the kind of client for whom we wanted to design a kitchen that works in the background so that her personality shines in the foreground.
→ Andrei Gângă, Art Director MyKitchen Studio
Thinking about a kitchen design project?
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Choose the appointment date and time slot for a kitchen design consultation discussion at the MyKitchen Studio showroom.