Located at Khodynka Field, a decommissioned airfield just 7 kilometres from Moscow’s city centre which has been rebuilt as a commercial and residential development, Café Polet is a new restaurant that channels the site’s illustrious aviation history with a retro-futuristic interior by New York-based design studio Asthetique that combines the sleek modernism of the space age with the cinematic grandiosity of early sci-fi movies.
Officially named Frunze Central Aerodrome, the former airfield was at the core of Russia’s aviation industry from the early 20th century onwards when the first Russian powered flight took off from here. It was officially closed down in 2003, but since then the area has seen several large scale developments, including one of the largest shopping centres in Europe, a sports arena, a football stadium and the Russian National Air & Space Museum, as well as a new residential neighbourhood. Asthetique’s bold interior design of retro-futuristic sophistication manages to both pay homage to the site’s aeronautical heritage and encapsulate the area’s dynamic comeback.
Taking advantage of the restaurant’s high ceilings and huge windows, the designers have swathed the space in gleaming surfaces, from stainless steel surfaces, to brass finishes, to marble table tops, and incorporated several monumental objects such as a six-metre-high winged goddesses, black-birch angular panelling, and a towering concrete bas-relief depicting a plane taking off to “convey energy, speed, strength and dynamism” as Julien Albertini, co-founder of Asthetíque, explains. Inspired by Russian Constructivism, the monumental set-pieces reference the early days of Soviet aviation and at the same time enhance the sense that you’ve stepped onto a retrograde movie set – the faceted silver goddesses in particular seems to have come out of director Fritz Lang’s expressionist masterpiece ‘Metropolis’.
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