Palatial floorboards still promote playfulness

Horus Capital, Museolobby, Moscow

Deutsche Werkstätten services:
Interior furnishing, manufacture of freestanding furniture

Completion 2008


Almost exactly one hundred years ago Konstantin Sergeyevitch Stanislavsky had a stately brick building erected near the heart of Moscow to manufacture electrical cables, gold braiding and yarn. Yet Stanislavsky was not only a mercantilist, he was also devoted to acting and directing. He pursued these two interests until the 1930s, although he had to close his factory after the October Revolution of 1917.

The present owner of the building, Horus Capital, felt a certain tie to Stanislavsky’s life story as well as the history of the building itself. Horus Capital is a property developer and investment firm particularly active in the Russian capital with its headquarters now in Stanislavsky’s converted factory. One of the company’s avowed goals is developing properties which merge commercial space with cultural or historically-important public space and thus bestow added value on the respective building.

The Museolobby in the Stanislavsky factory is a model of this maxim. Not only is a theatre presently being created within the building complex but the future will also see a small but first-class museum detailing the building’s industrial history right in the middle of the lobby. The space adjoining the museum is a bi-level lounge area designed by British designers Casson Mann to exude an informal atmosphere. We created 13 coffee tables and sofas in a double-row arrangement for this area.

The coffee tables are made from grain-cut slabs of smoked acacia nine centimetres thick. Gluing the individual panels together at right angles results in a very striking domino-like appearance. The amorphous coffee tables rest atop a serpentine-like stainless steel frame as well as an additional stainless steel leg. The stainless steel construction continues through an opening in the wooden panels to a smaller and movable stainless steel plate positioned 15 centimetres above the actual tabletop and serving to hold food and drinks. The coffee table thus engages two levels and encourages playfulness from those sitting around it. Electrical connections for laptops are integrated underneath the tabletop.

The black lounging sofas of soft cowhide are the perfect invitation to extended lunch breaks. Each leather piece was individually cut and double-sewn together. These two-fold lockstitch seams as well as the 2,400 leather-covered nubs where they intersect lend these stylish sofas a look reminiscent of the “Barcelona Chair” from Mies van der Rohe. As opposed to the chair backs, the sofa seats do not extend to the narrow acoustically-treated partition walls adorned with lighting fixtures. The shelving space thereby gained – like the tabletops – are also made from smoked acacia.
The table/sofa combinations are ringed by materials firmly establishing a tie to the building’s precious metal-based history. The design firm brought this concept to life with bronze-coloured floor tiles, golden room dividers and silver lighting elements, their design calling to mind reels of yarn.  

Text: Deutsche Werkstätten
Photo: Frank Herfort