Sleeper’s office in Kyiv is an ode to the hopeful future of Ukrainian design


No current employees work at Sleeper’s Kyiv headquarters. Some who remained in the Ukrainian capital are arriving from their homes. Others have followed brand founders Asya Varetsa and Kate Zubarieva to Istanbul, where the leisurewear brand has set up a temporary outpost, or are working remotely from where they were forced to go after the outbreak of war in their country. Yet Varetsa and Zubarieva say they still “dream” of returning to the office they were forced to leave last February.

Located in a former shoe factory in Podil, the headquarters is both an ode to Ukraine’s design history and its potential future: Varetsa and Zubarieva asked local architects, Veronika Arutunyan and Olga Malyshenko, to then in their early twenties, to arrange their space. They completed the project at the end of 2021.

Items found include a 1980s portrait of two men, from Berlin.

As for the design itself, they were inspired by the Zoloti Vorota metro station, which in turn looks like a Kievan Rus temple. Its influence was most felt in lighting: a bronze chandelier in the main showroom features candle-like bulbs similar, but contemporary, to the famous transport hub. The Bauhaus style, which originated in Germany and spread throughout Eastern Europe, also served as an important reference, with Arutunyan and Malyshenko using simple geometric shapes to embrace the building’s industrial roots. (In one room, you’ll even find classic Marcel Breuer Cesca armchairs.) Meanwhile, works by contemporary artist Masha Reva, who also made pieces for Harry Styles, adorn the walls. Another notable accent? A 1960s chair that once belonged to the Dnipro Hotel in the central Ukrainian city.


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