One of the colors of the year according to the Pantone Institute is a shade of gray drawn from nature - Ultimate Gray. Visible on the raw concrete ceiling, soft furniture upholstery and light linen curtains, the timeless luminous gray color also reigns in the interior of designer Anna Okolotovich's apartment, whom, as she admits, this gray soothes and pleases.
fragment of a kitchen with a dining room
© Anna Okolotovich
Anna Popiel-Moszyńska: What was the biggest challenge in working on the project?
Anna Okolotovich: I admit that I don't like random elements and adapting to furnishings that don't fit me. I prefer "tailor-made" spaces. The apartment was created from scratch, from developer condition.
The original idea to leave some reinforced concrete walls as unfinished did not work out, it was verified by a visit during construction - the walls primed mistakenly by the builders in a rust color were no longer usable. My eye, however, was drawn to the smooth, bare ceilings with a beautiful porous texture. Unfortunately, they had not been treated well either - their surface was crisscrossed with numerous unsightly grooves. Within minutes I made the decision that this massive, albeit luminous gray ceiling would remain unfinished throughout the apartment. The quick decision was facilitated by the awareness of the apartment's location on the top, fifth floor and the high interior of the well-lit apartment of over a hundred meters.
apartment floor plan
© Anna Okolotowicz
APM: How long did the construction take?
AO: The apartment is located in a historic part of Gdansk, in the Wrzeszcz district, in a contemporary development integrated into the numerous well-preserved and restored buildings of the old brewery. The historic residential and commercial complex, combined with the downtown residential buildings surrounding it, constitutes a lively self-sufficient structure with ubiquitous pubs and small trade. Both the location and the apartment itself were so attractive to us that we decided to wait patiently for the construction of this phase of the development. Almost two years elapsed from the moment we booked to the moment we took delivery of the apartment. The completion of the apartment fell during the difficult time of the outbreak of the pandemic - however, we managed to complete the construction work and move in after five months.
APM: Where did you get the idea for this style?
AO: Everyone is calmed and pleased by something different - for me it will be a gray, misty and austere background warmed by light wood, wrapped in soft fabric with a touch of wool, linen and greenery of live plants. "Gray" for me means not only raw concrete, softer micro-cement or durable matte sinter, but also the lightness of a linen curtain or the warmth of a cashmere bedspread. I chose a natural color palette, the one I wear every day. What matters here is harmony and moderation, simplicity and light. The space has been divided to a minimum. Thus, the way from the front door to the living room does not run along a narrow corridor. The space of the open area of the living room and kitchen is built by elements that emphasize this character - a double-sided modular sofa made to order, giving the possibility of variable arrangement of the living room, glass loft doors, in black steel frames. The arrangement created in this way is informal and casual.
double-sided modular sofa gives the possibility of variable living room arrangement
© Anna Okołotowicz
The tall interior is further accented by vertical planes - doors to rooms and closet fronts to the full height of the room, as well as linen, slightly translucent curtains, delicately upholstered in waves. The furniture is built-in, finished with a simple matte surface. The whole room is illuminated and neutralized by the white of the plaster walls and most of the furniture.
Lighting is an important element - it was meant to be very technical. It is based on a simple solution, uniform throughout the apartment. These are strings of spotlights on rails, with the possibility of adjusting the angle of the light, thus adapting to the individual needs of the interior and its users.
The living space is separated from the children's rooms by a centrally located double-sided "peninsula", with a kitchen draft and a sizable clothing and utility closet on the opposite side. I have a feeling that this is the part where everything that matters most in the house fit in, especially since the center of family life and communal cooking is here.
the living space is separated from the children's rooms by a centrally located double-sided "peninsula".
© Anna Okołotowicz
The interior in this open space is also built up by smaller frames - these are such nooks, clippings and thoughts, short etudes on a subject I feel comfortable with. This interacts positively with the simple and austere form, which could be too much here. I think of detail, everyday objects, small details exposed in the recesses of furniture, fabrics - or the beloved Poet lamp over the table.
APM: Since this is your family home, which you've been using for some time now - is there anything you'd like to change, or think should have been done differently?
AO: Working as an architect is a constant discovery, searching for new solutions and new infatuations.
I'm still comfortable in my gray world, although I know that someday a moment of change will come. What seems to be in its place today may become boring in a while.
APM: Thank you very much for the interview.