The Richter to wander around throughout the day. A move made by Efimova and her team to create a mood as to being in a home within the space
Richter Hotel in Moscow
Richter Hotel is a celebration of designs curated across the seven rooms and spaces on the property. Located in central Moscow in Ulitsa Pyatnitskaya, Richter Hotel is a brainchild of Anastasiya Efimova and her peers, Venera Galimova, Dmitry Razumov, Alexandra Sergienko and Alexey Guskov. A six-hundred-meter walk from the Novokuznetskaya Station, a communal neighborhood in the area hosts the hotel.
The founder, Efimova, was a graduate of the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, with a degree in political sciences. She shares «the individuals involved with bringing this hotel to life were investors that are a part of the arts. Two of them are also graduates in the field of political science». From scouting the location of the area to the conception of the hotel in itself, Efimova remains a leading part of Richter Hotel to this day. A means to oversee and be a part of the experience that maintains the hotel’s brand image and name.
Upon her graduation, she took a role within a company dedicated to the restoration and reconstruction of historical buildings across Russia. «My goal was to prove that while governmental legislations state it is cost effective to build spaces and buildings, there is value in the preservation of ancient sites». Her ardor for architecture and design led her to founding her first hotel, Brick Design Hotel, with her partner and team at the time.
Initiating the boutique hotel movement in Russia
The hotel was the first boutique hotel that cropped up in Russia. A contrast to chain hotels that were abundant in the country six years ago. Containing nine rooms, the layout of the hotel, as per its name, showcases exposed brick walls as well as curated rooms. This garnered a following with independent-business owners in the hospitality industry to curate their version of a boutique hotel. A movement that then led to the foundation of other hotels.
Upon initiating the boutique hotel movement, Efimova then went on to form the idea to create Richter Hotel. A space dedicated to the arts as well as to the artists of sorts. Her ambition and passion that lied in the restoration of historical sites prompted her search for locations that brought her to Richter Hotel’s building, once belonging to a man of the same name involved with reconstructing churches across Russia.
The mansion belonged to him and his family. Since then, the building changed hands in ownership, being a communal living space at a point in time. It was then repossessed by the bank. «The bank owners’ daughter had been to the mansion and was taken by the interior design of the hotel. She urged for the preservation of these designs. Therefore, we worked with this and are thankful for what she has done».
Richter Hotel’s inception
The hotel came together in September 2018, after an eight-month period dedicated to the renovation and reconstruction of its interiors. A team of individuals familiar with in the field updated the frescos and gypsum across the rooms of the hotel. The architect involved in the restoration alongside Efimova was Artur Makarov.
Attached in the hotel is a restaurant, a bar, a gallery, Lebigmag. A space dedicated to the exploration of printed literature, a garden, an artist studio as well as a recording one. Podcast and music recordings by Russian singers and bands now take place at the studio that once hosted a radio station.
Richter Hotel’s development started with the opening of its art space, then the restaurant and bar. The launch was then commemorated when the seven rooms were ready for its guests. Clients and patrons are welcomed into Richter Hotel to wander around throughout the day. A move made by Efimova and her team to create a mood as to being in a home within the space.
The importance of not doing marketing for the hotel
The objectives and philosophies that were put together when bringing the hotel to what it is now has been maintained since its opening. Efimova shares that «individuals and investors that believed in us funded the hotel. We wanted to build an art institution that was self-sustaining. We achieved this through the earnings we received from the restaurant as well as from the hotel that covered housekeeping, staff and other needs. The remainder of the earnings went into the art program that exists in the hotel».
Remaining free of collaborations and paid partnerships with brands and commercial contracts, Richter Hotel is dependent on their congruence of art that they showcase across the hotel. A ploy to draw guests in. Having not done marketing for the hotel, Efimova states that Richter Hotel’s varying identity from its competitors has allowed for their growth and significance in the community in Russia as well as in other regions of the world. «We haven’t developed any advertisements. We did not reach out to publications to cover Richter Hotel either. The growth happened by itself».
Lebigmag and Szena Gallery
Spanning across eight-hundred-and-ninety meters in a three-floor building, the attached garden is the part of the property that impressed Efimova. A scarce luxury in the city of Moscow. Guests who enter via the front door can head to the restaurant, Lebigmag or Szena Gallery.
The garden that surrounds the property allows Richter Hotel to grow produce for its kitchen. «We have zucchini flowers that we grow here. We use it in our menu, and we supply it to restaurants in the area». The floor below hosts the recording studio. Away from the prime area to allow focus when working. Szena Gallery – an effort brought by Anastasia Shavlokhova – is a chamber art space championing artists from the New East.
The two floors above host the seven rooms. Named after the animals characterizing the nineteenth century fresco in the hotel, the rooms’ titles are Hyena, Lion, Tiger, Quail, Leopard and Heron. «To us, the animals defend the hotel. They are like totems. They also inspire creatives that we host at Richter Hotel. The Quail room, for example, inspired a jeweler who made rings based off the feet of a quail».
The Mansard Suite
The last room – known for its space – is the Mansard Suite. Friends of Efimova that were essential to the formation of Richter Hotel are artists, designers as well as wine connoisseurs of sorts, who have allowed for its growth. Rooms also include design and art pieces. Gifted by the artists, Efimova shares that her peers in the industry have invested into Richter Hotel’s brand.
The rooms range in space, an approximate forty-four square meters. The Mansard Suite is sixty-three square meters in size boasting space, design and bespoke furniture pieces. Each room also comes with a curated wine selection made by Pavel Shvets, a renowned sommelier in Russia. While the rooms vary in design – be it furniture or layout – it has retained the gypsum, fresco and parquet flooring of the building.
Accomodation and restaurant at Richter Hotel
The Mansard Suite for instance, boasts a vintage leather sofa, contrasted with white walls and a table designed by Niles Moorman. Whereas the Leopard showcases a mid-century velvet chair, a wooden table crafted by Denis Milovanov and a wall to floor length painting by artist Egor Fedorichev, contrasted by baby blue paint hues from the walls of the room.
A red glass window separates bathrooms, allowing guests to maintain focus on the structure of the room. Organic linen characterizes bedspreads and furniture are stand-alone pieces. «This mindset characterizes the hotel. It allows for us to move furniture around if there is a need for change or in the case an event is taking place. It is part of the hotel’s ethos as well to maintain the preserved structure».
A quirk kept across the rooms is that the bed frames do not include headboards. Efimova asserts, in fact, that it is a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. «My team and I maintain this across the hotels we work at. We change the linens after each use». Rather, guests receive five pillows, which they can play across the mattress for comfort.
Richter Hotel’s design
Milovanov, a designer renowned in France, was also part of the construction of the restaurant. He was, in fact, in charge of designing a ten-seater table made of wood that encourages communal eating. A practice that is not a norm in Russia. The menu developed by their head chef, Stepan Burmistrov characterizes the restaurant. Efimova has been altered over time to suit the existing team’s vision. Food comes from the locale. The menu celebrates Russian cuisine, awakening the senses of the palate.
Efimova scouted the lighting in the hotel in rooms and other spaces in Milan. «Richter Hotel is, what I consider to be, a design museum». Having designed a fragrance for Brick Design Hotel with Matvey Yudov, Efimova partnered with Yudov and sculptor Dishon Yuldash that works with ceramics and semi-precious stones. They created thirty-five bottles in a variation of designs. Costing five-hundred euros, the scent of the perfume was drawn from the blackcurrants that reside in Richter Hotel’s garden. Alongside with the perfume, Efimova has also created a scented candle collection purchasable at Richter Hotel.
Lampoon review: the idea behind the hotel
Prior to its opening, Richter Hotel’s area lacked restaurants and spaces that enticed the flow of visitors. That changed upon the opening of the hotel. Efimova believes that this was due to the reconstruction of Richter Hotel. She shares «there is a power in the reconstruction of sites that have value and meaning. It, in fact, prompts for change to occur in the area».
During its construction, Efimova was stumped due to its internal designs. The first floor having low ceilings and exits that did not lead out onto the pedestrian walk. She shares that it took her a period of three months to understand and re-route the structure by including concepts into the spatial layout to fill unused spaces. «The fundamental idea of Richter Hotel was to construct it in a way that it reminds an individual as to being at home».
Diverting away from the ideation of coziness – a notion despised by Efimova – she and her team of friends have found a means to manufacture the feeling of being at home while existing in the abstract dichotomy of Richter Hotel. Guests and visitors of the restaurant and bar can move from one area to the other, be it to eat or lounge. Spaces in Richter Hotel are meant for exploration. Guests are considered as peers and members of an artistic family.
Guests at Richter Hotel
Before the COVID-19 crisis, clients who checked into Richter Hotel were visiting from neighboring countries or abroad. These guests amounted to an estimate of sixty percent, the remainder coming from those in the area. Prior to the lockdowns, guests would stay in a rotation of five to six days before moving to other cities in Russia.
Now, guests who check into the space stay for extended periods. In some circumstances, for a month. These guests are artists or creators in the genres of art looking for an area in Richter Hotel where they can draw creative essence and churn it back into their work. Then there are guests who stay for a day or two for the purpose of a staycation, as Efimova shares.
Art, being Richter Hotel’s personality, has spurred the creation of bespoke design pieces and a typeface created for the hotel. «We had graphic designers involved with the identity of Richter Hotel. This took a year to create. They created two typefaces in Russian as well as in English. This way, guests and consumers of Richter Hotel can recognize us». Pricing for the rooms start from two-hundred euros to five-hundred euros per night. Post pandemic, Richter Hotel is looking to collaborate further with creatives based in Russia.
Ulitsa Pyatnitskaya, 42, Moscow, Russia, 119017
Richter Hotel is a restored old mansion. Seven rooms, a garden and a small restaurant with simple and local cuisine and wine characterize it.