Time and again in the culinary world “health food” shops and cafes are singled out from the rest. So for architects Eduard Eremchuk and Katy Pititskaya the desire to normalise healthy eating became the driving force of their latest hospitality project. Given the name Nothing Fancy to reflect the cuisine on offer, the new restaurant nourishes its patrons with generous portions of “what our body needs every day,” Eduard and Katy say, pointing to a menu of quality ingredients prepared with the best available cooking technologies.
Located in Saint Petersburg, the 105-square-metre restaurant fit-out was inspired by the atmosphere of a typical Milanese cafe. Its point of difference, however, lies in the way Eduard and Katy blended the cafe archetype with a “futuristic” approach. “[We needed] to combine warm and cool tones, leather and metallic details in a very delicate way,” they explain. “We wanted to create a place where you might come every day, a space for real life.”
Nothing Fancy restaurant by Eduard Eremchuk and Katy Pititskaya
Within the interior of Nothing Fancy, the architects combined the patterning prevalent in Italian bistros with caramel-coloured leather, shimmering chrome details and mosaic tiles. It’s a mix of classic elements and contemporary style “in line with the spirit of the times,” they say. But the centrepiece of the space is perhaps its shapely main counter. “Upon entering, the visitor immediately pays all attention to the curved bar table. The piece is made of mirrored stainless steel – its curved shape reflects the space, mixing all the colours and details and creating a kaleidoscope effect.”
When it comes to dining in, there are three main zones on offer. The central spot is a large communal table, clad in black and white mosaic tiles, paired with flying ‘Alien’ chairs in faux leather. Designed by the architects, the chubby chairs balance a futuristic shape with warm, soft tones. “Some of the ‘Alien’ chairs have a grass print so they became a key point of the space. We saw how in Italian cafes they merge together some incongruous elements – for example, classic wooden boiserie or mosaic with a cheap grass printed tablecloth,” Eduard and Katy explain. “We loved this mix and wanted to bring it into our space.”
Along the two side walls of the restaurant, large niches frame lengthy banquette seats. One of these showcases a leather bench with wall-mounted stainless-steel tables, providing a perching spot for “fast dining”. The other niche, also with an upholstered bench, is joined by chairs and round stainless-steel tables in a more traditional arrangement. “These pieces repeat the reflective surfaces of the interior [and] its curved shapes,” explain the architects, who created the zone as a place where diners can sit and enjoy the buzz a little longer.
The Nothing Fancy logo is placed “at random” on several surfaces within the diner. Developed by Anton Gorbunov, the founder of local creative agency Liars Collective, the brand identity is printed on the chairs and the leather-lined walls of the niches. In the bathrooms, steel trough-style sinks are partnered with pixelated mosaic logos, mirroring the technique applied to the large share table and ensuring that no guest leaves the premises without knowing where they’ve been.
“We wanted to create a place where you might come every day, a space for real life.”