Those who have had to fight for their freedom often experience a newfound sense of creativity once they have achieved their independence. While it may not regularly rate upon the world’s design radar, the Eastern European nation of Ukraine (which regained its independence in 1991) is one such milieu of burgeoning creativity. An archetype of this emerging ingenuity is Tavernetta restaurant, nestled in the Ukrainian city of Odessa on the northwestern coast of the Black Sea. Designed by local architectural collective Studio Belenko, Tavernetta emphasises the philosophy that a simple life is the best life. Warmth emanates from the raw Siberian pine finishes and the traditional stucco walls, with the contrasting textures uniting to create a rustic ambience that is at once homely and shrewdly crafted. Collections of retro kitchen items act as centrepieces of the decor – a rainbow of KitchenAids perches along the ledge of one wall, their mixing arms raised to attention in readiness, while motley bouquets of rolling pins cluster along another. Elsewhere in the space, old-style colanders, saucepans and copper utensils hang in tribute to the intricacies of cooking. Bathing the space in a charming glow, muted sunlight filters in through the ample windows, providing glimpses to the natural setting outside where verdant trees sway lazily in the breeze. And as evening sets in, retro lamps cast luminous intimacy over diners as they tuck into the lovingly prepared fare, making them feel as though the homely space has been created especially for them.