My close friends have already known for quite a long time that best gifts for me are the things with history, ones which have seen a lot and accumulated charisma in their lifetime. There are amazing objects that only get better after a time. This might be an authenticity indicator of any thing. If it ages beautifully over time and only gains wattage, it is, undoubtedly, the right design.
I’m keen on things with history, I can spend hours wandering through flea markets and rummaging in the debris of a junk shop, looking for the items of heavenly attraction. I have a feeling that in a couple of years my wardrobe will mostly have things older than me. As an example, here are these wonderful boots. On the inside of the shaft there’s a clearly visible stamp -1943! Sometimes I put them on to show off. And they are exactly twice older than I am! My favorite watch that I’ve been carrying for the past few months, is even older — ninety.
Unfortunately, only a few manufacturers enshrine durability into their articles, while most are interested in hurrying the customer up with inviting novelties. That’s why the objects themselves are often designed to be biased, with an eye to today, but when tomorrow comes, it all what seemed so fashionable, fresh and topical, is sent to a dump. Neither the manufacturer nor the designers themselves believe their item will remain relevant years later.
I support the idea that design should be scratched into eternity, seek for tomorrow. Being fashionable today is not the most noble goal.
Projector № 2(15) 2011
The summer Projector № 2 (15), 2011 has been released. In recent history, there’s been only one case when I when I asked an invited designer to decorate the cover: in 2010 we published the issue with bright black face without a logo but with a beautiful poster LOVE by Vladimir Chaika. Now there’s the same situation. The design of the cover and all the objects used in it aren’t by me, but the young and promising designer - Alisa Kharshak. The magazine intends to follow closely the creative development of this author closely, and I'm sure her works will appear on the pages of our publication again and again. At the moment of press-time Alisa Kharshak was three years and seven months old.
Project № 1 «Personification» opens with an article by Anna Kozhara on the work of Charles and Ray Eames. The couple are the recognized classics of American design. For almost forty years of activity, they created several dozens of objects, many of which are considered to be the world’s «design icons». However, furniture isn’t their only legacy. Surprisingly, combining idealism and rationality, they sincerely wanted to change the world, using a very wide range of tools — design, architecture, art, cinema, photography and educational activities.
Next there’s an interview, with an outstanding (I don’t exaggerate!) Portuguese poster designer Joao Machado. Olga Severina has talked to maestro: «Portugal is a child of the Atlantic, which is only in its southern part spoiled with the warm breath of the Mediterranean. Dry and hot climate in the south is very different from what we have in the center and the north of the country, where I’ve spent most of my life. Here, the cold winters and rainy autumn are as customary as the midday heat of a summer seaside. In short, our climate is very similar to natural conditions in most European countries, located near the shores of the Atlantic. You may ask, what is this colorful entry for? To say that color comes in paint, and it is the most often subject of analysis, when it comes to my works».
Project № 3 «Lettering» consists of three publications. The first one is the «Chehonin» series by Alexei Dombrowsky continued: «Theatrical alphabet was the last bright work of the artist in a decorative font field. At the beginning of the next year, 1928, the fifty-year-old Sergey Chekhonin went on a business trip to France and did not return to his homeland. At first, having settled down in Paris, he maintained business relations with the Soviet publishers, but it didn’t last long».
The second publication about the letters is the story of Roger Teeuwen, the designer of Krooswijk font, who has recently visited Moscow and Saint-Petersburg with lectures on his works. When creating the font for the facade design, the authors thought about the multidimensionality of social communication. Any interaction can be covered from different perspectives — «I», «you», «everybody else». These three points of view, the three social positions have been interpreted by graphic language. It turned out that each font edge exists in its own plane, while being an integral part of a more complex, multidimensional structure.
The third publication of «Lettering» project is simply called 1926. «The first decade of the post-revolutionary Soviet Russia comes to an end. At the height of the era of the New Economic Policy, both the political and ideological dogmas are not so inviolable as a decade later, by the end of the t1930s. The twenties are the experiment time and creative search not only for designers and architects. It’s amazing how time stamps itself in the smallest manifestations of material and textual culture. The hero of the publication is a small book-calendar of the New Economic Policy newspaper The Commercial-Industrial Courier.
I’m lucky to open the project № 4 «Subject» with the interview given by Eero Aarnio. Meeting here such a celebrity is a rare thing. Unfortunately, there are not so many living designers, whose name is forever inscribed in the history of design of the twentieth century. That’s why the fact of master Aarnio’s arrival in Saint-Petersburg is even more surprising. I offer you the only interview given by Eero Aarnio during his visit. «I do everything alone. I do not understand how you can hire another designer. I can not. What do I do with them? Give him a pencil and say, «Draw me a chair — the world bestseller» ?! And what will happen? For the same reason I do not take any trainees and I’ve never taught. Although, of course, I keep getting a lot of requests from young designers who want to work with me».
Project №4 continues with the story of Pavel Ulyanov about one of the masterpieces of the twentieth century design — the chair Z-Down: «For me, a design masterpiece is an object which combines the three components in an equilibrium way: function, aesthetics and technology. Flawed function makes it impossible to use the object. Flawed aesthetics deprives the subject of emotional sense and does not bear the joy of interacting with it. Flawed technology eliminates seriality, and therefore accessibility. One of the things that, in my opinion, meets all the criteria for evaluating a design masterpiece, is the chair Z-down by the Danish designer Erik Magnussen. The author designed it back in 1968».
In a very easy and natural way Pavel Ulyanov moves on to the project № 5 «Environment». After all, that’s he who’s the ideological driving force of one of the most interesting exhibition spaces of Saint-Petersburg — Modernariat gallery. Anna Kozhara tells about, including into her speech numerous quotations from conversations with Paul: «The main exhibition space Modernariat involves three rooms, where the gallery creators have tried to maximally preserve the features of an apartment as an architectural object with history, and at the same time use minimal decoration. Walls and parquet floors were cleaned, stucco mouldings on the ceiling and a massive oven — the heritage of the tenants’ house of 1912 — were preserved. This resulted in a laconic, lively background, conveying a dual function. First, he feels more like a living space than the standard exhibition format «white cube», but it does not pull your attention away from the display. Secondly, this is how tthe creators of the gallery show visitors the opportunity to create a spectacular interior with minimal investment in finishing facilities».
Further on, the text by Olga Bezruchko presents The Seventh installation by Federico Diaz. This is an entire room-corridor and illustrates the favorite subject of the designer — disorientation in space and sound effects. Along the walls of the room made of noise absorbing material, 63 speakers, numerous sensor monitors and three doorways equipped with cameras are introduced. While proceeding through the installation, a visitor is accompanied with the sound that is first mixed, and then is distinctly divided into seven sound fields, replacing each other during the movement.
And in the end of the Project №5 «Environment» there’s a publication of universal Konstantin Kotov, who both very nicely photographed «Monsieur Paul» and wrote a lively text about it: «I met Monsieur Paul in Strasbourg, where I’d come on not a very interesting business connected with the Council of Europe. The street version of the object made of steel turned my walk on the upper terrace of the building of the European Parliament into something amazing. Chairs, organized sometimes orderly, sometimes chaotically, illustrated the busy everyday life. I immediately had a feeling that people had been cut out of the landscape at once — they even hadn’t finished their wine!»
Project № 7 «Photography» presents a series of works by Vitaly Smirnov. Here’s what the author writes about his project: «I have seen these houses out of the train or car windowmany times -randomly scattered over the fields, perched on the hillsides, they are always rushed past quickly, but remained in the memory for long. I was thinking about what had motivated these anonymous authors of folk architecture, the creators of these houses — both unique and similar to each other. An unexpected and, in fact, a rare opportunity to express yourself in creative work of building a house-out-of-nothing on your tiny piece of land, the house not for yourself but for garden tools, unexpectedly allowed the construction, utilitarian in its idea, to acquire the features of a peculiar house grapheme, if it’s appropriate to apply a font term to an architectural structure — a triangle of the roof, a square of the wall, a window, a door. What is missing is the pipe with painted smoke curves.
The project №8 «School» congratulates a wonderful educational project — Children’s Design Center with its the twenty-fifth anniversary. This is a unique educational program, which started in the Palace of the Pioneers in the late eighties, when the word «design» sounded in a romantic foreign way and hadn’t been yet not devalued by thousands of media repetitions. And the combination of the names «Palace of the Pioneers» and «Design Center» was one of the signs of dramatic changes.
Project № 9 «Books» is traditionally filled with a large number of publications. It opens with an article by Mikhail Karasik Sacred typography, dedicated to the typographic illustrations in the Soviet book of the 1930s: «In 1920-1930s, iconic images of the leaders were created not only of feather, but also cereal, flowers, yarn, threads, veneer and even typesetting. Portraiture captured the broad masses of the working people the Soviet Union, from amateurs to professionals. Those years, gardening became the most massive and popular initiative. The portraits of Lenin, Stalin, Dzerzhinsky, Gorky were laid out in flowers on the hills and lawns of parks, on the grass of squares. Park authorities demanded ideological content from the decorators: «No unprincipled lawns!». In the printing industry, which directly addressed the cases of propaganda, ideology was include into every printed».
Projector continues its historical research in the field of Russian design periodicals of the past twenty years. This issue presents an interview with the creators and imasterminds of «World of Design» magazine — Eugeny Spiridonov and Alexander Linz. By the standards of design periodicals, «World of Design» existed for a long time. The pilot issue came out in 1995, and the last one was published in early 2001. Over five years of existence, 18 issues, celebrity editorial board, well-deserved prestige and, alas, the magazine is almost completely forgotten today.
And, of course, Projector could not ignore the magazine, which has been published for over a year bythe contemporary Loft Hostel. This is Saint-Petersburg guide, drawn by Nastya Beltyukova. «Nastya Beltyukova’s graphics, lively and light, in combination with the scanned artefacts of Saint-Petersburg culture life, such as the tickets to Film House or the Railrway Transport Museum, creates an amazingly accurate and attractive image of the city. Not that state Saint-Petersburg, where «your iron fence pattern» or «bridges hanging over the waters», but the city for life, walking, drinking wine, visiting strange and beautiful places, which aren’t always shown in the colorful tourist guides».