ARCISCENE Editor Zarko Davinic spoke with interior designer Katerina Churina and chief of Churina Design about the innovative approach to creating a flexible and multifunctional workspace, the concept of Activity Based Working, and the key features of the design of L’Oréal Ukraine Office.
In the heart of Kyiv’s city center, L’Oréal has unveiled its sleek new Ukrainian office. The project was brought to life by the Churina Design team (ex. TABOORET) led by the founder and chief designer Katerina Churina. As certified interior designer and consulting expert, Katerina works globally to make spaces better with a unique philosophy of northern minimalism. Projects of Churina Design are characterized by a modern Scandinavian style that prioritizes maximum comfort, minimalism, clear lines and open space.
In this project studio Churina Design presented a new perspective on office space. The new L’Oréal Ukraine office is an innovative and inspiring environment where beauty combines with technology and sustainability. The chosen principle of Activity Based Working allows employees to work in any office zone – from a spacious auditorium to a cozy greenhouse with bird songs.
Continue to our editor’s conversation with Katerina Churina:
Katerina, what was the main source of inspiration for the L’Oréal Ukraine office design? – The main source of inspiration for creating this space was the philosophy of L’Oréal. It found expression in every detail of the office – from the layout to the decor. For us, it was important to reflect the key principles of the company: beauty, innovation, care for employees and sustainability.
What were your main priorities when starting a project? – Our task was to create a comfortable space with a variety of work and relaxation zones for the L’Oréal team. We aimed to design the entire space to make communication between team members as efficient as possible.
Could you tell us why you chose the Activity Based Working concept for this project? – The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed corporations’ approach to organizing office life, and L’Oréal was no exception. During the lockdown in Ukraine, employees felt the lack of live personal communication. We were among the pioneers who used the Activity Based Working concept as the basis for the design concept. As a result, we created a modern space that aligns with current trends in organizing workspaces. Nowadays, large corporations are abandoning separate offices with assigned spaces for employees. Modern offices are open areas for idea exchange, collaboration, and teamwork.
In L’Oréal’s Ukrainian office, employees have the freedom to choose the most convenient workspace based on current tasks and personal preferences. For creative work or brainstorming, open spaces like the auditorium or open-space area are ideal. Special meeting rooms are designated for confidential phone calls. If an employee needs to prepare for a presentation, there is a conference room equipped with all the necessary multimedia tools. The multifunctional space we created ensures the flexibility of the office and enhances the productivity of the entire L’Oréal team. Most importantly, this approach takes into account the needs and interests of the employees themselves.
What general design solutions have you implemented, especially considering the comfort of employees and visitors? – We designed many areas for relaxation and maximum comfort for employees. For example, in the kitchen-dining area, employees can chat with colleagues in a more informal setting and relax with a cup of aromatic coffee during breaks. Another unique area is the silence room, where the employees can meditate and rest after active work. For game enthusiasts, there is a room with a gaming console in the office.
Ergonomic furniture and inclusive design of the office ensure both comfort for employees and visitors alike. By the way, conceptual design solutions have been implemented with the compliance of all rules and restrictions during the pandemic.
Katerina, do you have a highlight or favorite part of the project? – In my opinion, one of the coziest corners of the office is the greenhouse with panoramic windows. Here, the landscape of the bustling city outside harmoniously intertwines with the oasis of live plants within the office interior. The ambient sounds of birdsong, subtly piped in through speakers, enhance the relaxation experience. And adjacent to the greenhouse, a soundproofed library offers an ideal retreat for quiet work or meditation.
The entire office interior looks bright and inviting. What was the reasoning behind such a choice of color solutions? – Yes, the interior of the office features a soft color palette dominated by natural tones. We used light shades of gray, sandy tones, as well as turquoise and pink accents in certain areas. This color solution creates an atmosphere of calm and comfort, aligning with L’Oréal’s corporate philosophy. Natural tones positively influence the emotional state of employees in the office. Additionally, the color scheme visually expands the space and highlights the textures of natural materials in the interior.
What makes this project special for your Churina Design team? – For our team, this project is special primarily due to its conceptual and innovative nature. It became a significant step in realizing our boldest ideas for the design of future offices. It was highly appreciated not only by L’Oréal employees but also by the global design community. This year, the L’Oréal Ukraine Office project was recognized with the international SIT Furniture Design Award and reached the finals of the SBID International Design Awards.
What new projects are you currently working on, and can you give us a preview of your future projects? – Currently, I am focused on several directions in the field of design and real estate development.
Firstly, I recently realized my long-standing goal of creating interiors for hotel complexes. Currently, we are working on a project for a luxury hotel on the coast of Spain and preparing concepts for boutique hotels. In addition, we have launched a development project for creating dream residential buildings for sale
Recently, I started a fruitful collaboration with world-class architects, including Julio Perretta. Together, we are working on a new project in Spain. Another major project for me is my own design school. I am currently working on launching it and hope to share details of these projects soon!
Discover more of the project in our gallery:
Project Name: L’Oréal Ukraine Office
Design studio: Churina Design (ex. TABOORET) – find more on the official web page
Chief designer: Katerina Churina
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Area: 1885 m²
Photo by Andrii Posonsky