We have recently finished the redecoration of the apartment, well, almost finished. Of course, talking to my friends, designers and architects, I understood that the deadlines, originally named by the chief builder, would surely move, and the budget would increase significantly in the course of work. Logically, I knew it, but, being a painfully punctual person myself, I was suffering from the fact that the work dates were catastrophically being shifted. At some point, when Nika called me once again and said she’d been to the apartment, but nothing had happened over the past two days, I decided to assume extreme measures. I decided to raise my voice at the superintendent. Moreover, I was determined to swear, and even came up with certain words in advance. Next, I psyched myself up for a few minutes: come on, be a man, you genteel wet noodle, I encouraged myself. But I still didn’t feel like cursing. On the other hand, I understood that my constant smooth intonation and polite addressing the foreman (same age as me, or even younger) somehow invisibly dampend the entire team. I breathed out and dialed the number. I was calling from Stockholm, and the surrounding reality — the blue sky and sun glare on the water — contrasted with the subject and the form of my talk so much! I was to convey the idea that by the time I returned from the business trip either an urgent jerk would have happened , or they’d have handed me the keys to the apartments back. In general, of course, it was pure bluff — we did not have any other brigade at hand. In response, the superintendent droopingly promised a breakthrough. Later, Nika told me that one day she dropped in the construction site again and found there the tiler deep in thought — whether to continue the work or not. «I’ll stop now or I will bring all the work to the end». By the way, he was equally satisfied with both potential scenarios. He told my wife: «Yes, all customers eventually start shouting. Yes, the delay always happens. We’ve got used to it. This is job. Well, since then, Madam, shall I continue the work, or should I pack my bag?
I, frankly, was struck by such a reaction. Okay, you can somehow come to terms with the loss of money for the unfinished object. Maybe these guys are in great demand, and having packed their bags, they unhurriedly move to another object.
As a result, I started thinking that what we, designers and architects, work in quite a different manner. I can not imagine anyone of my friends and colleagues (myself either) wondering from the customer with indifferent laze whether you quit it all halfway or continue the cooperation. Everyone I know in the profession, even sometimes railing against customers, still bite into each project as if it is the only one, and other customers do not exist at all. And it’s not about competition, not about the fear of losing the project or underearning money. The professional pride and the inability to do the work indifferently — that’s what matters. This is the only possible and the only right way for us. We are professionals! We are the best!
That would be a miracle ifmy fellow designers were a role model for builders and traders, officials and road workers, the police and clerks — everybody would feel their responsibility for the business they conduct. That would be an amazing and beautiful world. But nowadays with such thoughts I’m on a par with dreamers and utopians, and there’s nothing left except imaking the world better with your own labor.
Projector № 4(21) 2012
We’re finishing the eventful year 2012, and, as usual, are releasing next Projector without delay. One of the most notable changes in the structure of the magazine is that a new project №11 has appeared - it’s dedicated to fashion design.
This is the first time I want to pay your attention to our news in the announcement of the issue. The news is several vacancies in the new project. For anyone interested all the information about the new smart head hunt is in my LJ: http://kharshak.livejournal.com/108930.html
The historic figure of the first section is our compatriot, who, however, got famous not at home but in the US, where between 1934 to 1958 he was the art director of one of the iconic fashion magazines of the twentieth century — Harper’s Bazaar. Alexey Brodovitch dramatically changed the approach to magazine design, having turned a fashionable luster into the sample of high art design. The figure of Brodovitch is tragic in many ways- his fate was not easy. But he is very close to me personally — there’re just a few lines about his own publishing project: «In «Portfolio» Brodovitch created publications on artists and designers, wrote about national design schools, designing incredibly beautiful spreads. The works by French poets interspersed with bizarre items of street graffiti. It was the mix of all kinds of art. Unfortunately, only three issues came out. Non-profit ideals and the lack of advertising quickly bankrupted the publishers». We must think over the future of Projector=))
Next, I publish here a long interview with Stefan Sagmeister, one of the current biggest names of graphic design in the world. This is perhaps the most famous name of the 2000s. The calligrapher, typographer, the master of man-made lettering, the winner of all possible world professional awards, who got his first «big prize» when he was in Moscow at the Golden Bee in 1998. Sagmeister has a small studio in New York. Why does not he tend to extend his business, why does the designer every seven years go to the edge of the world, what is most important in the design process, about money, work and leisure — read the interview with Stefan.
The first half of the magazine has quite a lettering approach. The project «Lettering» is devoted to another designer-experimenter, Oded Ezer, who is a true magician. The mind boggles what he does with with letters. In his lab, they come alive, spread tentacles out, creep away into the corners and behave completely unbridled. Having left the plain sheet of paper, where they are normally supposed to exist, they’ve entered the third dimension and formed a new genre Typo(3D-) graphic design. This is, however, already the closed chater, as Oded says. The experiment never ends. I’ve spoken to Oded on Skype, and here’s the interview.
The series about Color music, our joint project with Artlight, is going on, and I introduce new items. We chose a waldhorn for a new lamp (its shape is amazing and beautiful!), but I decided to paint it black, retaining the original copper glow of the inner surface of the bell, where a large lamp is set to. Black metal evokes blue-finished weapon associations, so the object with a strong male character came out, and the glittering bell jaws are not only an aesthetic solution, but also a piece of function — the light scatteres better, being reflected in the polished copper.
Another design object we want to show in the issue is the Stone — the screen system by the workshop of Vertti Kivi (the largest design studio in Finland, by the way). For me, the Stone reminds of the beautiful film Play time by Jacques Tati’s, which he created back in 1967. It’s no coincidence the film is considered one of the most designer movies of the twentieth century. The relationship between a human and the environment of architecture and objects in a modern city is given in an ironic and subtle French style. And there’s an interview again. Being at the presentation of the object in Helsinki, I could not miss the opportunity to ask the designer some questions.
And then another interview, this time collective. All the six co-founders of the Dutch architectural community Collective Amsterdam called on Saint-Petersburg on tour this autumn. They demonstrated here the new project to be constructed on commission of a local real estate company. Dutch design and architecture surprise me more and more. This time I’ve spoken to Collective Amsterdam tactics of group work, the conquest of customers and methods of a creative process — everything in the world, except for the new project. Well, or just a little about it. We’ll talk over it when they’re done.
Projetor attentively monitores the historical factory architecture of Saint-Petersburg taking on a new life and getting filled with new meanings. In previous issues we have already talked about the Gas-bag, and Tkachi (both buildings are close to each other on the embankment of the Obvodny canal). This year has been fruitful for quality restoration of red-brick industrial Saint-Petersburg. One notable example is the building of Buch Brothers’ button factory, which has opened this year. There’s a private school now, and the design of educational space as one more tool of the learning process, is the topic I’m seriously into.
The subject of educational environment design is talked over in this publication as well. This is the story about the project Tetris, implemented by the Norwegian all-around designer Bjorn-Kowalski Hansen. Bjorn-Kowalski gave a lecture in Saint-Petersburg, and I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.
M.K .: First of all you consider yourself an artist — not an architect, a designer or a musician, right?
B.-KH .: Yes, this is a pragmatic choice. It’s easier and more convenient — the artists have a great excuse: «That’s the way I see it!», and thus don’t have to explain anything. If one says they’re an architect, it sounds much more serious than it actually is. There’s a simplier attitude towards the artists. However, it sometimes involves certain arrogance. This is the only thing I don’t like about it.
Next, we’re publishing the continuation of the series about the buildings by Sergey Choban, constructed in collaboration with the Management Company Theorem. This time we’re speaking of the business center Winter and other pleasant features of the business park Polustrovo.
All over the history of the longest and most consistent Project №7 «Photography» we’ve had color reproductions by our authors only a couple of times through two dozens of publications. Monochromatic pictures were nothing about a conceptual choice of the editorial board. It came by itself. And that’s why it’s even more joyful to publish the bright, juicy and sunny works by Irina Khorunzhaya in the darkest and dankest time of Saint-Petersburg year.
In the project № 8 «School» Sergei Helmyanov goes on talking about famous graduates of «Mukha». For this publication he turned the interview with Valery Siomushkin, the designer of Niva, the cult car of the Soviet car industry, into the direct speech.
«We all, and me particularly, literally understood the term «industrial designer». At first, I used to be told: do not go here, do not touch it, draw a beautiful thing. Then I responded: «Who are you? A mechanician? And I’m the industrial designer, so do what I say! My job is the inbeing of the product, not just the style and external shape. And your business is to design it to work mechanically».
Mikhail Karasik continues the traditional historical column of the project № 9 «Books». This time, he talks about the typographic experiments of Igor Terentyev in the late 1910s — early 1920s. «Terentiev worked up the reputation of the most notorious futurist, «the most left of the left», and his teammates after all were not fearful Alexey Kruchennykh and Ilia Zdanevich. When in the early years of the revolution Mayakovsky, as the leader of the Petrograd «komfuts» (Communists-Futurists) was rearranging Futurism into the new, communist way, far away from the capitals, in Tiflis, his younger «left bank» workshop fellows organized the poetic group «41 °».
And then the main body of the magazine is over, and special projects begin. For example, the project №10 «ProArt» is dedicated this time only to Cyberfest, which had finished just a day or two before the press time of the issue. The most entertaining part of the festival — the performances and the exhibition of installations — are located on the fifth floor of the Tkachi Creative space. Artists Marina Koldobskaya and Anna Franz, the people who founded the festival and actively promote the cultural process, answer our questions.
And, finally, this edition of Projector is closed with the new section I started this review with — the project №11 «ProFashion». Its pilot edition is dedicated to the International Aurora Fashion Week, which finished several days ago.
Next, there comes an exclusive interview given to Projector by magnificent Valerie Steele — the fashion historian, the PhD (Yale University), the director and chief curator of the Museum at New York Institute of Fashion Technology. In 1997, she founded the international magazine Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, and still is its senior editor. Valerie Steele is the author of 17 books; the three-volume Encyclopedia of clothing and fashion was published under her editorship». The Washington Post described her as «the most intelligent woman in the world of fashion», and the journalists of The New York Times dubbed he «the heeled historian». Valerie was included into the list of «50 most influential people in the world of fashion» according to The New York Daily News, and Forbes magazine dedicated her the article expressively entitled Professor of fashion. Read!
And at the end of the fashion column some words of Skif fashion — the mad and raunchy show by the designers from Sergei Kuryokhin and Pop-Mechanics surroundings. Andrey Bartenev, Svetlana Petrova and Sergey Chernov cheered the audience at earnest at Aurora shows.