On May 18, 2021, LaTrika has opened its doors in the center of Moscow: the project of a flagship boutique by Lesya Nikonova was developed by our studio. Seems like collaboration with Lesya's team is becoming a nice tradition, aswe worked on the very first brand’s store in St. Petersburg back in 2019.
The project of the new home for the brand has become one of the most interesting and challenging for us. The project's tight deadlines and limited budget forced both the architects and designers of the studio and Latrika team to work extremely hard, but the result is worth it – the interior turned out to be truly special. In the article, we will share how the project came to life and how many times we visited the site (spoiler - not a single one!).
Design under Tight Deadlines
It took Latrika team quite long to find a proper space for the second brand’s store. Choosing suitable premises that would meet the requirements and vision of the brand owner and be affordable in terms of rent is not an easy task in Moscow. But on March 13, 2021, the phone rang: “We’ve found it!”. High ceilings, panoramic windows, infrastructure (the room has served as a boutique for a long time) - all that in the very center of the city! We fully supported the choice, especially given its amazing location.
The target opening date was mid-May 2021. Yes, the same year. However, in March our studio was totally overloaded. We have been finalizing a large project for a real estate developer, and so the architects were 150% busy. We could undertake the project only in the beginning of April, which meant we had almost no time to complete it. Moreover, due to travel restrictions, we did not have the opportunity to visit the site. But we strongly believe that there are no problems that cannot be solved! Thus, we got down to business.
The project started off with dismantling: while we were handing over the last milestones of the current projects, Latrika team began to ‘clean up’ the premises. They removed the old structures and took out unnecessary furniture. We decided to leave only two elements from the previous owners: a cast-iron column, which was brought from Italy, and a cash cabinet in a metal finish. The stone flooring, despite the signs of wear, was keept as well. Subsequently, the floor was brushed and covered with a special compound to ‘refresh’ the look of the stone that has faded over time.
Jenya Lykasova began to work on the concept almost immediately. To immerse herself in the brand’s philosophy and values, Jenya re-watched all the documentaries about nature by Latrika. A few days later, the future image of the boutique began to take shape, as we commenced SketchUp rendering. This visualization tool was chosen for a reason: given the tight deadlines, we had no time to create photorealistic 3D images, while SketchUp was perfect for quick sketching.
On April 2, we presented the visualization to the brand owner. Lesya and the entire Latrika team were delighted with the concept of a clean, airy space that would invite guests into the brand’s world. The sketches were approved instantly, and active work on the drawings began.
We provided the first version of drawings in just one working week, as Latrika team needed them to proceed the work on the site. Being quite high-level, that documentation still contained the main constructions, so the team could start building them with no delay. In parallel with the construction and procurement, we continued to work on the drawings, in particular, on custom items and individual pieces (for example, metal parts, hangers, rails, etc.). Our team sent an update to the general contractor every 3 days.
On April 25, the key drawings were finalized, however the design process haven’t stopped since then. Even after the boutique opening the project evolves, new ideas for improvement appear. Thus, drawings for some elements, such as hangers for long coats and dresses, were created after the final documentation was submitted. These items will be installed in the nearest future.
We received updates from the construction site regularly: communication with suppliers and Latrika team was carried out in several chats in messengers, we got photos and videos of the current progress every day. This allowed us to quickly resolve issues arising at the site and supervise every stage of the process, despite the fact that we worked remotely.
‘Green’ zone with plants and trees was one of the key areas of the space. It was particularly important to choose the right greenery for this part of the boutique. Thus, we engaged landscape designers from Minsk into the project. And, of course, we faced some challenges. Living trees are always expensive, moreover, it is extremely difficult to choose the ones that suit the composition best. We were lucky to find nice trees within budget, but the delivery from Germany was delayed by 3 weeks. What a relief it had been to finally receive them a few days before the opening!
According to the author's idea, several boulder stones should had been put in addition to the greenery. We had been looking for such stones in Moscow for a long time, in the end we decided to rely on suppliers from Minsk. Together with the landscape designer we had selected the stones, she went to Moscow for installation, but it turned out that the floor slab can withstand only 400-500 kg per 1 sq. m. Unfortunately, the weight of our stones was way more than 800 kg. We could not leave all the boulders, so only two smaller stones and two trees were installed.
The installation of greenery and trees took quite a long time, as we wanted this zone to look as if it was a real forest meadow. The designer had put lots of effort into creating a perfect composition, repeatedly burning herself with a glue gun. In the process, additional moss was purchased. By the way, when choosing stones, the landscape designer came across a picturesque driftwood, which, due to its low weight, could be placed in the green zone. Thanks to the installed irrigation system, the plants feel so comfortable now, that a mushroom has grown on the driftwood, and strawberries are blooming among the bushes.
In this interior, we also found a place for our moon-shaped lamp, which was made for the BATIMAT exhibition in 2020. It seems like it was meant to become a part of Latrika's interior and lit the boutique with its mysterious ‘moonlight’.
A custom-made sofa of the irregular shape that resembles rocks is another interesting piece of the interior. We found a contractor who agreed to complete the work in the shortest time, but the first version of the product was not comfortable enough for long sitting. Since boutique guests sometimes have to wait for a long time while their companions try on clothes, we asked the manufacturer to adjust the shape. Despite the complexity of the design, the contractors managed to achieve the desired result in just a day! Now the project boasts a sophisticated designer sofa that is actually comfortable to sit on.
Despite the constant monitoring of the site through chats and calls, it was still difficult to take into account all the details without being present in Moscow. Especially given the fact that the construction was carried out at an incredible pace, and everything was literally on fire. We had been carefully studying each photo and video so that not to miss a single aspect of the future interior, and the final version turned out to be wonderful. However, in the process, we had encountered a whole number of issues that made us panic.
For instance, a huge mirror in the fitting room symbolizing the water surface was not purchased! Until the very last moment, our team was sure that everything was agreed on with the manufacturer and that delivery would take place on time. But 4 days before the opening, it turned out that the order had never been placed – the team just forgot about it due to the overload. We started looking for a new contractor straight away, as we needed someone who could make the mirror before the opening day. Fortunately, we managed to find a company who created the mirror in just a day.
The selection of technical lighting was also quite challenging. We needed the lighting to have a color rendering index of at least 90 so that the color of the light indoors was as close to natural as possible and did not distort the color of the brand's products either on rails or in the fitting rooms. After a long search, we still found the right fixtures that fit into the allocated budget and provided the required level of color rendering.
The day before the opening, the interior finally acquired its finished look, and we started our photo day, again, in a remote format. We invited a talented photographer Dmitry Tsyrenschikov to take the pictures. Jenya supervised the process online, constantly receiving shots of the rooms from the photographer.
At the end of the day, any project is not only about the concept and construction, but, most importantly, the team. And on this project, we hit the jackpot as we were lucky to work with awesome, passionate professionals who made this project possible. Everyone joined forces and supported each other, working towards the common goal. And the result exceeded all expectations!
It was a great pleasure for us to create the interior for Latrika again. We hope this cooperation will not be our last. In the meantime, we invite everyone to visit the brand's boutique and immerse in its incredible atmosphere!