In “T Home”, we ask creative people to design a specific room in their proverbial dream house — or, essentially, to give us a voyeuristic glimpse into their unbarred notion of what living well means.
When you think of balance, there’s work on one end of the fulcrum and life on the other. And when one is up, the other is down. It’s like a zero-sum game. Achieving the perfect work-life balance — a state of grace in which all is aligned — is perhaps an unrealistic goal. But just a few months ago in Kiev, architect and furniture designer Victoriya Yakusha flung open the doors to her self-designed office-cum-studio, where she runs both her eponymous architecture firm and furniture brand, Faina. No one sits in little cubicles: After a conference, seated on one of the 80 flax chairs, you might plop down on foil-like pouffes placed in a secluded corner, snuggling up against pillows while flicking through emails or furtively napping.
“We live in a world of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). Energy efficiency, flexibility and openness are priorities we no longer can ignore,” says Yakusha.
If piecing the disparate parts of lives together — the once-segregated notions of pressure and relaxation — is the plausible answer to achieving a work-life balance in the office, can we, then, meld these variables at the private comfort of a home?
Above, the 37-year-old designer dreams where such work-life equilibrium can be brought back home.
As futuristic as it seems, natural materials are smartly incorporated in the room.
The enveloping dome screen can be controlled to project Yakusha’s suited environment.
The post-cubicle zeitgeist ushers in non-traditionalist workspace designs, where corporate culture then becomes less rigid. At home, Yakusha’s imagined workspace looks as if it is plucked out of a futuristic sci-fi film, and it might just be. Its external glass surface is meant to double as transparent solar panels. While the inner surface of the dome acts as an enveloping screen that allows Yakusha to project any image, information or control the lighting in the room, where transparency is supposedly adjustable. “You can set the mood. If it’s thunderously dark outside, you can pull up for yourself a sunny sky, dotted with clouds and enjoy,” says Yakusha.
To the designer, the physical environment of a space shapes its inhabitant’s behaviour. “When your workroom or studio at home can transform, you can easily flow from one atmosphere or dynamic to another by the simple change of colour or light of the projected screen,” she posits.
The bubble-like oval workspace is a connected extension to a house, of which is hidden from view behind the panels. “I imagine it to be on an island, surrounded by the ocean,” says Yakusha. “Everything is in motion yet stable at the same time. You can dive deep in your thoughts without anything from the surrounding interrupting you.”
A look from above.
While appearing ultra-modern, unlikely natural materials are smartly scattered: clay flooring, woollen carpeting, wooden chairs, stone coffee tables and its centrepiece, the Ztista table. Hand-sculpted from flax, an indigenous Ukrainian building material, the piece of furniture is a Faina signature. She imagines spending most of her time sitting on the chair, hands folded on the cool, hard table, contemplating. “Just observing the world, space, myself, dedicating time to meditation,” says Yakusha. “This helps me stay present in the moment. It’s very important for me to be focused; not letting external elements distract me in my moment of creating new things.”
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