optimistic cafe "Barabul'ka"

Lead DesignerOxana Kovalchuk
Project LinkView
Prize(s)Honorable Mention
Entry Description

In July, 2015 we received an order for production of a project design of an optimistic café with even more optimistic name “Barabulka” (Sur mullet). The task set by the customer was a creation of a cozy, stylish, and modern interior of a cafe, a place where it would be possible to grab a bite of tasty food, a cup of good coffee or a glass of fine wine. But how do we choose the style of a café among a great variety of magnificent interiors of restaurants and cafes in Almaty? And as it usually happens, the name of the café, its location and the main requirements claimed by the client have set the tone of the future interior: town, freshness, optimism. The color palette of the café stems from the main idea, i.e. warm concrete, warm spectra of natural shades of young grass and mature foliage and orange color as the most optimistic color on earth – a color of a tropical fruit, happiness and smile. Eco-design is the most relevant trend today, in era of changes and urbanization. Bleakness of a gray concrete city has always been compensated with trees and plants of our beautiful town, and only blots of color bring us zest for life and make us smile and enjoy life. The main idea was to pass all the good from one heart loaded with love to another that lost its joy for some reason. That is why “the happy writings” on the walls appeared in the interior, reading which, the guests could surely find such simple and necessary words of support, happiness, and sympathy. There is some kind of mystique, when you are overwhelmed with some thoughts but, having raised eyes, you see such proper words of support: “Live, Love, and the Best things come when you do what you love”.
Zoning of the café is meant for different guest categories, their characters, mood, and age.
The big room to the left is a venue of old friends, romantic couples, and simply colleagues appreciating coziness, warmth, and a romantic and comfortable atmosphere with dimmed light. It is a tight-knit plan with a special light, hue, accessories, and landscape. As there are no windows in the room we installed a huge light box along with the false windows. The main point of the light box installation was not only a need in additional light and visual space extension by having horizontal lines, it was also supposed to give the feeling of sitting in a cozy, romantic café on an ocean coastline. Living in the city we often recall warm days spent by the sea: we think of its scent, beautiful picturesque sunsets, a sense of peace and happiness. Thus, it will be very nice to sit by the sea and recall warm days when it is snowing outside.

The central room is a party place for people who come to relax, have a few good drinks during the Happy hour, listen to the music, and mingle with friends. I intentionally did not put many seating places at the bar. There was a strong wish to adopt foreign experience where visitors usually stand at the bar socializing after a hard working day. They drop by to have a glass of a good wine or a small bottle of beer at unusually favorable price before going home. It is not the point of getting drunk but to taste a good drink and go home after that. The bar counter, of course, draws attention being bright, stylish, laconic and one-of-a-kind, that is a fact)))). It looks like it is filled with water. The bottom of the counter is covered with white pebble, resembling a sea shore. LED lamps come very much handy in the bar. First, BAR a BUL’KA is a bar where it is gurgling. That is where the idea of bubbles comes from. As it is an optimistic café, the bubbles should be cheerful. The LED system is very helpful as it allows changing 16 colors; i.e. the mood can be changed just by changing the lamps’ colors. The atmosphere of the bar itself is more than positive and joyful because the lamps resemble balloons.

The room to the right from the entrance is a room of abstraction, a room of youth. The idea of this room design occurred from Pete Mondrian's (1872-1944) famous extremely modernist – abstract paintings. As well as him, I wanted to bring dynamism to balance. I hate symmetry and order; you get tired of them in your routine life. The mood of the room is dictated by the rebellious spirit. Contrary to order I created an interior with no symmetry whatsoever: neither in furniture arrangement, nor in drawing, or lighting.


Oxana Kovalchuk is an Interior Designer/ Owner of the international company "OxanaKovalchukDesign.Inc", registered in Virginia, USA in July 2014, and Inetrior Designer and Creative Director, Privat entrepreneur, registered in Almaty, Kazakhstan in the October 2009.

Awards and Prize

LIT Lighting Design Award 2017. Custom made floor lamp named "The Seven's Planet Mystery", Honorable Mention Award Lighting Product Design if the Year 2017, "Designer and Custom Lighting" category. http://www.litawards.com/winners/winner