Moscow restaurateur Kira Baybakova likes to think big, so when it came to her new restaurant, “The Y”, she secured not one, but two floors in a newly built residential building in central Moscow which she transformed into a multi-functional eatery seating 200 patrons and featuring 2 open kitchens, a private dining room, a café, a bar and a secret playroom, with the help of New York-based design studio Asthetíque who conjured up a sophisticated yet easy-going ambience where guests can enjoy a morning coffee, a casual lunch or a gourmet dinner.
The Y was conceived as a theatrical stage for the Y generation, in other words outgoing, 30 to 40 year old Muscovites, whose youth was buoyed by the internet boom and their adulthood defined by the rapid advancement of digital technology. Ironically, and truth be told, irony is millennials’ most handy tool against the grind of daily life, Asthetíque’s approach is characterised by a subtle nostalgia, channelled through an elegant composition of arched forms and soft pastel colour that combine a 1970s aesthetic with an Art Deco graphic elegance.
The restaurant was explicitly conceived as a relaxed refuge from the hustle and bustle of contemporary Moscow, cinematically designed as stage set of suave elegance and old-time charm. Inspired by acclaimed American film director Wes Anderson, whose distinct visual language has both aesthetic and narrative purposes, The Y’s highly stylized décor is characterised by a dreamy colour palette of pastels, the eclectic use of materials such as brass, velvet and polished timber that convey luxury and sophistication, and a predilection for symmetry and repetition. A plethora of striking details such as decorative wall panelling, graphically bold wainscoting, bespoke chandeliers and floral wallpaper differentiate each space while the venue’s aesthetic cohesion is underpinned by a soothing geometric language of arches, circles and spheres, as well as the refreshing presence of lush vegetation.
The Y unfolds as a sequence of elegantly designed spaces; the intimate café on the ground floor gives way to the bright, easy-going dining hall where the vast open kitchen allows guests to have a taste of the restaurant’s inner workings. Upstairs, a mint-coloured eating area with its own open kitchen channels the ambience of a 1970s French bistro whereas the adjoining bar and dining area, steeped in dark wood-panelling and brass furnishings, convey the worldliness of an old school clubhouse. With a theatrically staged private dining room, a hidden playroom accessed through a secret door, and lavatories that feel more like upscale dressing rooms completing the venue’s facilities, The Y is an alluring, multifaceted destination that caters not just to millennials but to all those seeking a spot of refinement and poise amid the hectic pace of Moscow.