Window of Hope: the Kyiv office of Bogdanova Bureau
When Russia invaded Ukraine, the team at Bogdanova design studio left their newly-designed Kyiv office. Photographed before the war, they share the story of an office that has a deep meaning, and to which they one day hope to return
When Olga Bogdanova’s creative team moved to their newly-designed office in Kyiv’s Tereshchenkivska (known as ‘the street of museums’), they had emerged from a pandemic year of remote working and were ready to return to real-life interaction. After six months in the new space, Russia invaded Ukraine and the office, they note, became empty again. ‘Some of us remain in the surrounding Kyiv, some of us went to serve the Ukrainian army,’ reads a statement from the studio. ‘The majority of Bogdanova Bureau managed to evacuate outside the country. We are now ready to continue our work and move forward to do the things that we can do best of all. To withstand, to support those who remained to protect our homeland, to pay taxes and help the economy of our country.’
They shared their office project, photographed shortly before the war, to celebrate this meaningful space in the hope to return to it soon.
Window of Hope
The office project was dubbed ‘Window of Hope’, a nod to the team’s hopeful look to the future. It is also inspired by the view from the office’s windows: the central park of Kyiv and the legendary red building of the Shevchenko University – landmarks that have remained untouched for over 100 years. ‘Every day with shaking hearts we read through news articles to make sure that everything remains unchanged.’
The building was completed around 1914 merging modern and Neoclassical architecture; the building’s owners, Ukrainian art collectors Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko, used it as a gallery and rental house. After being nationalised and badly damaged by bombing in 1947, the house was restored and its interiors transformed into a series of apartments – one of which hosts Bogdanova Bureau.
‘When I first entered this space, my heart stopped. I was astounded — the view from the windows was incredible. It is a real pleasure to gaze at the sunset at the end of the working day in the walls of my favourite office with a team of like-minded people,’ says Bogdanova. Her vision for the space was that of a blank canvas to promote the team’s creativity, with a design based on a neutral palette of greys.
The focal point of the office is the large tables for meetings and team lunches, designed by Bogdanova and made with travertine and steel, serving as the central island of the space and accompanied by Marcel Breuer chairs. Across the office, armchairs and acoustic panels are Bogdanova prototypes created for Ukrainian brands, to be launched soon.
Pieces by Ukrainian artists adorn the space: ‘The Space Around’ by Nazar Bilik catches the light and changes during the day, while a kinetic sculpture by Ukrainian designers Smith & Winken symbolises the passing of time.
The office’s balcony is described as ‘a point of intersection between the office and historical Kyiv’. Says Bogdanova: ‘it is well known that the most interesting things are born in locations that intersect each other’. §