As I remember, I haven’t written yet about another fantastic fortune that smiled upon me, probably a year or two ago, or even more. The stars were aligned in such a way that I absolutely gratuitously, as a gift, got a decommissioned from a children’s music school brass band of over forty instruments of unimaginable beauty. There were horns, trumpets, flutes and bassoons, a huge hyppopotamus-like tuba, large drums — as centuries-old oak trees around, and a lot of all kinds of beauties, which names I don’t know at all, being musically ignorant. Captivated by the beauty of the musical instruments, I gained another decommissioned band, so my stocks got replenished with cellos, violas and a few brass. It’s clear that in the biography of every instrument children’s music school is the lowest point of the downfall, next step after which is a dump or a scrap-yard. The glorious years of careful attitude and being on stage are in the past. Kids wear the instruments out completely, so the ones hardly produce any predictable sound.
But beauty remains. A rare object can boast of such visual attraction, which musical instruments have in my view. Perhaps this is the influence of the fact that I avoided musical education, even in the form of almost compulsory for many of my friends children’s music school. And now, being nearly of a conscious age, I admire the ability to strike three primitive chords on the detuned guitar, not to mention more serious achievements.
What should I do with these gizmos I miraculously got into undivided ownership? No other choice except converting them from the spheres of sound into visual designe ones. And I have already done the first steps in this direction. I’m going to create an entire collection of interior objects, whose main design feature will be my instruments. Horns become desktop or wall lights. The bassoon turns into a magic lamp. I have a little left to do — to learn how to make a primitive electric circuit, as all yhe components — from a plug to a socket — are sold in any hardware store. A shade can be taken from some worthless old lamp, or just buy it in Ikeja. Three hours of work — and the amazing object is ready!
About twenty years ago, I had a grinding machine instead of a computer on my desk, and carpentry tools used ti occupy the place where design albums and other attributes of our profession are now. My grandfather — Igor Kornilov (read more about him in this issue in the project №8 «School») inculcated in me the love for handywork and working with «alive» material — wood and metal. Now, after a very long break in manual labor, I am delighted to return to the saws, drills, chisels and other non-musical instruments. The manual design process that is sometimes akin to modern sculpture, I find the joy and respite from many hours of communication with a computer. And it sometimes seems to involve more creativity than graphic design does, which very rarely goes into the third dimension, remaining icaptured with the width and height format. The objects get three-dimensional depth and, for me, working mostly with the printed image and word, this is a real miracle!
As the editorial board has moved to new premises, it’s become possible to organize a manual labor room for myself,and now the point is how much time I’ll be able to spend in this room. And I hope I’ll manage to show what happens in the end, at the reporting exhibition next year. At least, I have already made the first objects. Now I only have to handle about forty or fifty more items!
Projector № 4(13) 2010
The thirteenth edition of the magazine closes the year 2010. Hopefully, despite the unlucky number, the issue is interesting and enticing.
In terms of Moscow Design Week, held in the autumn, the exhibition of Luigi Colani was held in the Central House of Artists. Projector couldn’t have ignored this landmark event and devoted the main publication to maestro Colani. The text was written by our regular contributor and authority Sergey Helmyanov: «We look at Luigi Colani in a particular context — the context of modernity. Yes, Colani products arevlike props in science fiction films of the 1970s, just as the terminal of Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy looks like the scenery for these films. Yes, Colani’s products are subjective to the maximum extent, and the majority of industrial designers seek for objectivity. But the more objective a thingis , the more «gray» it is. «Apple» aesthetics is triumphally marching around the world … There’s less and less subjectivity in design».
Next, our unpredictable column «Self-service». Invited guests every time typeset their publication by themselves, and I do not interfere them at all as an editor in chief. This time we receive, probably, the most extraterrestrial character of Russian graphic design — Protey Temen. You must see what he did on his four spreads! He simply drew the answers to the questions of our correspondent Olga Bezruchko. However, the text was also included into the publication — on the very last page Protey put all the answers to the interviewer’s questions. As for the publication itself, he called it «Questions Expo». No wonder, the heroine of one of the previous publications of this column — Anna Naumova, called Protey a genius and confessed she was his fan.
This time the project № 2 «Russian Design» of Olga and Alexander Florensky comes out in an abridged version, because the objects are still being worked on. The full version of the project «Interiors» will be published in 2011.
I decided to decorate the spread of the project №3 «Letters» one of dazzling postcards from the collection of Vitaly Tretyakov. It requires absolutely no comments. It’s simple: «Piotr Petukhov…» The story goes on telling all the details of Piotr’s morning, and its highlight is that every word starts with the letter «P». Brilliant example!
Next, we publish the continuation of our series dedicated to Chekhonine. I give a low bow to Alexey Dombrovsky for such a deep and thorough study of the works by one of the most prominent Russian font artists of the first half of the twentieth century. Quote: «Sergey Chekhonin experimented with different techniques and styles all his life. The range of his font claims was unusually wide: from the Byzantine cursive writing to the latest Art-Deco discoveries. Meanwhile, many people do not consider the term Chehonine’s graphics as something except his «agitation» drawings and fonts — so bright, original, groundbreaking was this phenomenon, which fully reflected the romantic pathos of the first years of the Russian Revolution».
This time the project № 4 «Subject» is more than usually full of unique publications. The column opens with the interview, given by Theo Jansen to our correspondent Leta Gordeeva esprcially for Projector. Theo Jansen is a true magician, homo inventing. He’s the designer and sculptor, whose works combine advanced engineering solutions and the objects of incredibly expressive plastique. Jansen’s kinetic sculpture, walking along the coast are a miracle, awakening the joy of children in quite adult people. His objects are a pure emotion, almost the embodiment of Leonardo da Vinci’s passion for invention. Amazing, but it works!
Since this Project № 4 «Subject», a new section has been laaunched within here. We’ve made friends with the wonderful Finnish design company Martela. They are working with world stars. Some of them, such as Eero Aarnio, have already been heroes of Projector, and some haven’t, but likely to be. The first publication of our joint column is a story about the new Koop chair — the object designed for Martel by great handsome owner of a beautiful pink suit, Karim Rashid. In our program, and we’re going to feature many more other achievements of Martela’s cuisine.
The range of objects is continued with a publication devoted to Gunter Euchre. Some might be surprised: how come he is a designer, when he mostly is an artist to fingerprints!? — But I have a reason to have put the article about Euchre and views into the issue. In my opinion, designers will also get a lot out of the works by this German artist. All his objects are a naked, concentrated emotion. Isn’t it the main point the consumer is waiting for from object design?
Also in this section, Projector congratulates Antonio Citterio and Vitra company on crossing a quarter century milestone of successful and fruitful cooperation. And this year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the designer. Double congratulations! And the publication of his most recent object — let me introduce the sofa «Suite».
Project № 5 «Environment» opens with the publication about the constructor toy Eazzy by Alexander Matveyev. Anna Kozhara has seen into the subtleties of the environmental object: Eazzy is a modular object consisting of four cardboard hexagons, interconnected
with hinges and forming a kind of children’s «snake». Turning Eazzy’s modules and including your own imagination, you can easily and quickly create shapes of different utility levels».
As for the continuation of the environmental design subject, here are Tools by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. «Oldenburg’s brand style is crazy changes of the usual items’ scale. It will just suffice to mention his giant clothespins, established in Philadelphia, or the stamp with the word «Free» in Cleveland. Each of these sculptures is a familiar household item, magnified a thousandfold. This is how, Oldenburg and van Bruggen erect monuments to everyday life, which are the obvious embodyment of postmodern sculpture».
Project № 7 «Photography» has almost become Anna Kozhara’s barony, in terms of which she meets most wonderful photographers of Staint-Petersburg and elicits their skill secrets. In this issue, read her story about the works by Igor Lebedev: «The series «Passing by» was shot on the camera Boyer between 1999 and 2003. This camera was produced in France in 1947, which, depending on what the author wants or the situation requires, allows to press the shutter button up to 50 times while shooting one frame. The result is out-of-focus, or, rather, even a blurred image, often with repetitive details of the reality being shot».
This issue’s project № 8 «School» is special to me. Together with Sergey Helmyanov, we’ve made a publication on one of the brightest teachers of «Mukha» in the s1970-80s — my grandfather Igor Kornilov, who taught at the Department of Industrial Art for many years. «When we appeal to the people who are the essence of our school, we can see they are always a protean personality, showing themselves at various creative fields. <…> Igor Kornilov (1926-1987) is one of such people. The architect, who worked in various fields — from urban planning to interiordesign; a graphic artist; an industrial designer; an educator, heading the department of industrial art at Saint-Petersburg Art and Industry Academy dedicated to Mukhina from 1975 to 1977. Architecture and design are system arts. It’s impossible to imagine them outside the social or economic relations and technological links. Apparently, therefore, it is architects, as people thinking systematically, have traditionally headed our school and the department of industrial art in particular. Igor Kornilov is one of the brightest stars in the constellation ofthe Teachers, who formed the «Mukha» School».
And the student project Open Foundry by Soren Vibrou, which is also published in the Project №8 «School», is a kind of bridge, connecting this issue and next one, which will be entirely devoted to Dutch design. «The project is very interesting — a kind of proper ruffian design, pure lettering fun. Besides, the author actively quotes the theses of Massimo Vinelli that it’s not the black look that’s important about the font, but the white space inside the letters. Turning to a photogram — the favorite technique of the Constructivists of the 1920s, such as Laszlo Moholy-Nagy & Co, Soren Vibrou literally pulls the essence of the letter outside — the unity of black and white, the game of shapes and countershapes. Viewers and direct participants of the project see forgotten in the course of digital photo magic of working with photo paper, print appearance and fixation. Right at the exhibition Soren created many variations of his font.
Project № 9 «Books» opens with the publication by Sergei Serov, which has been imposed into pages with the help of one of its main heroes, Vladimir Chaika. No wonder, as we are talking about Advertising, the cult magazine of the 1980s. The covers of Advertising, designed by Chaika, have already become the classics of design. This publication continues the recent hisstory of design periodicals in Russia. There have already been the stories about [kAk), Yes!, Greatis, the Guild of Designers. This is the fifth publication in the series, but twe still haven’t run out of design magazines of the contemporary history. To be continued in 2011!
Our expert and lexicographer Mikhail Karasik continues the series of publications on the history of Soviet books of the 1920-30s. This issue’s protagonist is Vladimir Gryuntal. «Soviet photobook of 1920-1930s owes much to formalist artists and photographers, as they were called at the time. Many of them, including Gryuntal, were part of the group October. In their practice, they used photomosaics techniques, angle shots, sharp composition, but due to the certain circumstances not a single publication was issued those years — a publication which could be called Pure photoavantgarde. The exception is the photo book for children What is this? by V. Gryuntal and G. Yablonovsky. This photoriddles album’s issue in 1932 was seen as a formalist outing, which was condemned in professional press. Looking at the pictures in the book, critics of formal art, probably, exclaimed, What is this? And this is the formal Soviet book of the twenties and thirties,for children, by the way. «Most of the riddles are not set to contribute to the child’s knowledge of things and phenomena, but are perceived as tricks of the connoisseurs of photographic art».
Our partner, the information and bookselling company IndeksMarket, traditionally represents four books of its extensive library, and Projector’s attention has been grabbed by the famous work of Marion Bataille «ABC 3D». Our permanent author Alexey Boyko writes about it: «According to the original idea, her books are, of course, needed for the children who, learn to master the alphabet and counting. Her style is cross-functional and feels reminiscent of the artit’s favorite Bauhaus; and a minimalist language, and the effects of pop-art: three colors have been used- red, black, white. Opening the page itself generates the shapes of letters that grow, reflect and change without any secret mechanisms — just in front of the astonished reader. The two-year work on ABC 3D, carried out without any computer support, allowed the author to achieve clarity, simplicity and surprise in the publication, fascinating with its compositional and geometric accuracy and dynamic entertainment of «theater of letters».