Photograph showing garment manufacturing room

Sleeper turns Kyiv shoe factory into eclectic headquarters

Ukrainian architects Veronika Arutunyan and Olga Malyshenko have transformed the interior of a former factory in Kyiv into meeting and manufacturing spaces for fashion label Sleeper.

Sleeper completed the conversion of three floors inside the 1940s industrial at the end of 2021 – months prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.

Photograph showing outside of building with illuminated windows
The brand's HQ is inside an old factory

Ukrainian architects Arutunyan and Malyshenko worked with Sleeper founders Kate Zubareva and Asya Varetsa on the remodelling of the interior, which was geared towards both the productivity and well-being of the company's team.

"Sleeper's vision completely animated this fading industrial building in the historical part of Podil," said Arutunyan.

Photograph showing seamstresses in work room with parquet flooring
The designers fitted out the interior to accomodate specialist machinery

The workspaces, breakout areas, meeting rooms, dedicated manufacturing rooms and specialist photography studio all contain homely touches, such as soft seating, coffee tables and mismatched chairs.

"We're not big fans of fast fashion or corporatised, artificially-created design," explained Sleeper co-founder Zubareva.

"Instead, we wanted to create a place where people would feel comfortable."

Photograph through glass wall of mismatched chairs around a table
Interiors were furnished with assorted designer furnishings from a range of design periods

Antiques and retro items are scattered throughout, with notable examples including cantilevered Marcel Breuer-designed armchairs, a 1960s chair brought from a hotel in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, and a pair of red 1970s art nouveau chiclet armchairs designed by Ray Wilkes for Herman Miller.

"The designers referenced the mid-twentieth-century aesthetic of celebration halls and scientific institutes, with their simple futuristic forms," the brand commented.

The adaptive reuse of the building allowed for original features – such as parquet floors and high ceilings – to be preserved, while providing the Sleeper team with necessary specialised facilities.

Flexible layouts were designed to accommodate the brand's growing team and allow for expansion, as well as its need for specialised amenities associated with clothing production.

Photograph showing lounge area with brown-grey velvet sofa and red rounded armchair
The interior has a neutral colour palette punctuated with pops of colour

In addition to aesthetic considerations, the designers ensured that the team was provided with ample facilities to carry out a wide range of tasks.

A photo studio, meeting spaces, silent room, changing rooms and lounge spaces, in addition to manufacturing rooms, were created to ensure that each step of the creative process could be facilitated comfortably.

Photograph through doorway of mismatched chairs around a table
Contrasting furniture was chosen to make the space feel more domestic

Sleeper is a fashion brand that designs and creates high-end sleepwear intended to be used both in the home and on the street, according to the label.

The company has clothed notable actors, singers and celebrity personalities including Lily James, Katy Perry, Emma Roberts, Kendall Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian among others.

Photograph showing hanging brown pattern pieces
Areas dedicated to garment production are clear-cut

The production of garments at the brand's Kyiv atelier has been temporarily paused due to the war in Ukraine, which has damaged over 140 heritage sites in the country since the invasion by Russia in February 2022.

Sleeper's team has partially returned to their headquarters in the capital, with the remainder of its team working remotely in other parts of the world.

"We have no doubts that the Sleeper's home should be located in Ukraine, the country where the brand was born," the brand told Dezeen.

Photograph showing corridor with parquet floor and rounded-edged book shelf
Glass walls allow natural light to enter all spaces

Other reuse projects that feature on Dezeen include Chinese pastry brand Lao Ding Feng's headquarters in a former warehouse by Neri&Hu, and a radio station in an old furniture store by Atelier38.

The photography is by Andrey Bezuglov.