Moments of sculptural art enrich this terraced Japanese garden house, which is located in the suburbs of Kyiv, Ukraine. Project ‘Oko House’ (which translates from Ukrainian as ‘Eye House’) is a stunning two-level private dwelling, designed and visualised by Sergey Makhno Architects. A circular window in the main façade forms the ‘eye’ of the house, which overlooks the layered beauty spot of mature trees, shrubs and lawns. Inspired by Shōji doors, the round feature window is crossed with a grid of steel bars in place of the classic wood or bamboo latticework. However, traditional style Shōji screens have been used to compartmentalise space elsewhere in this peaceful design, whilst maintaining the link between inside and out.
The line between inside and outside spaces is drawn by an elongated concrete gateway, and a huge concrete archway that echoes the shape of the latticed feature window. Rounded shrubs protrude from the landscape too, popping up along the edges of a stepped pathway that meanders down from the house to a still pond at the bottom of the garden.
Up at the top of the site, Shōji doors draw back to reveal home fires burning brightly. A set of outdoor stairs give rise to the upper floor of the home, where there is a manmade terrace garden that looks out toward the pond.
Travelling through the terraced site, we encounter modern sculptures of impressive proportions. The pieces celebrate different materials that complement the contemporary build.
The elegant sculptures sit majestically within the calming backdrop of the lush gardens, softly shaded by the feathery boughs of ancient trees.
The garden is a place of zen and seemingly impossible beauty, like a scene imagined out of a magical Japanese folktale.
Down at the artificial pond, a garden statue depicts a figure standing upon a rock in the the still water, gazing out contemplatively into the natural greenery.
A metal sphere hovers inside a circular opening in the concrete gateway, following on with the shape theme of the modern architecture.
The concrete gateway joins perpendicularly with a hedgerow behind, to create a more intimate garden area at the entrance to the home. Here there is a flat lawn, which leads around to the side of the home too.
Tiny rock gardens emerge along the side of the house. This view of the metal sphere in the concrete gateway reveals a more detailed sculptural element.
At the back of the lawn, a bonsai grows through an ornamental shelter.
Glass panes in the huge feature window reflect the highest tree branches, silhouetted against the sky.
Moving inside the Japanese styled home, we find a traditional kamado stove; this ancient Japanese family gathering place is set deep into the floor, with seats built in around the sides.
A more modern fireplace flickers at the centre of a contemporary sofa arrangement elsewhere in the home. A cluster of dark dining pendant lights glow above a classic dining set.
The sculptural elements push on inside the living spaces, unrelenting in their bold proportions.
Just outside of the modern living space, the flat lawn area behind the external concrete archway is home to a set of sun loungers.
The master bedroom is steeped in character. The homeowners wanted to continue the reflection of family history here more than anything else. Natural clay was employed to cover the walls. The clay has been artistically moulded into a sculpture above the bed, in representation of love and fertility.
In place of curtains, traditional Ukrainian embroidered towels have been hung at the glass, and layered for effect.
A circular floor mat is printed with the image of a Japanese sable to tie in with the natural theme of the room. The ‘Aggretsuko’ carpet is from the NIWA collection, which is designed by the architectural studio themselves; the piece is described as ‘a Japanese small predator in the midst of endless Ukrainian field’. It peeps out from beneath the foot of platform bed that is covered with fabric to soften its frame.
Handmade bedroom pendant lights hang heavily above the bedside units. These are the CRUST lamps, also by the Sergey Makhno Architects workshop. A small glass vase is elevated on a concrete block as bedside decor.
The second bedroom in the home features a stunning mural of blue feathers and yellow birds, all painted onto a smooth wooden canvas.
The invigorating mural travels the length and head of a single bed, where it gives pause to a home workspace.
The dark aesthetic of the home workspace wraps three walls, but remains light and warm thanks to generous sunlight through a panoramic window. A piece of circular art melds with the shade of the backdrop.
The desk looks out upon a zen garden.
Giant bunny ears flop over a novelty kids’ bed. Tiny neon flashes energise the neutral decor.
Colourful toadstools sprinkle the walls and ceiling. A trio of unique light shades descend over the kid’s study.
A second kids room follows a similar neutral-meets-neon palette, only this time with a space theme. Amazing pendant light shades float like UFOs.
Storage solutions and playspace have been combined as one practical piece.
Zen garden at an entrance of the property.
Volumes are clad in different materials so that the home appears like modern sculpture in itself.
A car garage resides on the opposite side of the site to the terraced garden. It is here that visitors are welcomed.