Kult Babershop, Odessa, Ukraine


Variations of “Poverty is the mother of invention” are quoted often, and we tend to agree with the notion. But poverty in our mind does not mean just lack of funds. Lack of time, space, people and other resources can also help spur the creative process into new directions.

We also think that minimalism is extremely difficult in design. It is much easier to add and embellish than it is to leave out. In the same way that it is easier for companies to keep adding features to their offering rather than clarifying it and focusing on what matters to the customer.


Poverty, minimalism, focus, clarity – these words kept popping in our mid when we reviewed the Kult Barbershop project.

Lead architect Dimitry Sivak and designer Iva Gaidarzhy of Sivak Partners faced several obstacles with the Kult shop in Odessa, Ukraine. The chief problems were an incredibly tight schedule and a dilapidated building.


The project location is excellent, right in the old city centre at Grecheckaya Ulitsa 40 (Greek Street), one block from the city’s most famous pedestrian walkway, Derybasovskaya Street.

In six weeks from start to finish the client wanted a contemporary barbershop that also included a tattoo parlor, and pedicure and manicure for both men and women. The specifically did not want any of the standard barbershop fare – no dark leather, dark wood paneling, exposed brick or beams, and no images of men in beards and cool haircuts.


The space in the old building was small, only 100 square metres (1,076 sq. ft), and although there was the required height, the client did not want a loft.

Because there was no time to experiment or test, the designers covered the walls with specially designed decorative plaster, opted for a completely black, white and grey colour scheme and created a low mezzanine for relaxation with custom-designed furniture.


The result is not earth-shatteringly unique but the shop has a strong, minimalist sense of order, clarity and integrity. You know what you are looking at, no guessing or distractions. The soft opening of the shop was, as scheduled, in mid-June, and the store has attracted a steady stream of customers ever since.


Like most creatives, the designers might think of a lot of things they would have done differently if they had had more time or resources, but sometimes poverty in its many forms really does help create the perfect balance. Tuija Seipell.


Images Anton Garets

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