Fairytales and folklore inspire this new Russian restaurant

Tuesday 14th January, 2014
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Il Lago dei Cigni is the latest epicurean hotspot from the owners of the Buddha Bar in St.Petersburg. This contemporary Italian fine dining restaurant impresses a sense of both wonder and contradiction through inspired design details that weave Russian folklore and the tale of the restaurant’s namesake, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, with the idyllic nature of Krestovsky Island, where the favourites of Russia’s tsars once resided. The result is a modern gourmet destination for the city.

Nestled into the woodlands along a small pond, Il Lago dei Cigni has been newly built next to the “swan house”, the dwelling where the graceful birds which dot the island’s lakes live and breed. Across the lake, a white gazebo with a delicate rotunda further paints a romantic ambience. Panoramic, floor-to-ceiling windows encircle the round footprint of the main dining area, framing the lakeside backdrop. An exquisite central column and chandelier together form the star of the room, a shimmering allusion to Russian fairytales and the folklore around maypole dancing, the ancient rite of dancing in the forest to celebrate the solstice and the rhythms of nature. Its pillar is clad in clefts of natural selenite rock crystal which disappear into the circular backlit soffit at the ceiling, whilst cascading from the round canopy are “ribbons” hewn from shimmering crystals interspersed with geometric copper wire talismen suggestive of magical forces at play.

 Beautiful natural materials add to the sense of luxury. Wide plank teak floors are rustic yet refined, selenite cladding appears again on the façades of the bar and cabinetry, and Italian-made chairs upholstered in rich cognac leather and truffle toned herringbone wool all bring a connection to the natural world. 

Tucked away behind sliding timber doors with hammered copper handles, Il Lago de Cigni’s private dining space is a cosy haven which glows from the glazed antiqued mirror covering the back wall and a Czech glass chandelier. The restaurant’s rarest vintages and varietals are exhibited in bespoke handcrafted wine cabinets.

“By juxtaposing passion and edginess with tranquillity and heritage, we have created a unique dining experience that is new to the traditions of St. Petersburg and Krestovsky Island and is also a relaxing enclave to see and be seen in,” says Inge Moore Principal and Creative Director of The Gallery HBA.