IZBA is a curated project presenting 8 independent Russian designers. In april 2014 the group debuted with curated projects during Milan design week in Ventura Lambrate district. The idea of the project was to research and rethink old Russian traditions.
The project takes its name after a typical Russian dwelling, izba. It was a home for the most of people living on the territory of modern Russia since ancient times and up to the beginning of the 20th century. Rapid urbanization made national features of living less distinct. However, in rural areas you can find izba even today. Its basic principles of construction and interior remain unchanged through the centuries. Fascinated by this fact, designers explored in details living in izba. Archetypes of typical items found in izba became a starting point for creating contemporary design products. Far away from nostalgic remakes, these products rethink historical heritage in the terms of living today. Thanks to the universal language of design, they are objects with worldwide appeal, yet with a distinct Russian character.
Project curator Tatiana Kudryavtseva gathered notable product designers from Saint-Petersburg and Moscow. They are young, but already have an experience of participating in international design exhibitions, are winners of prestigious contests, their projects were published in Russian and international press. They are: product designers Aleksey Galkin, Alexnder Kanygin, Katerina Kopytina, Maxim Maximov, Yaroslav Misonzhnikov, Maxim Scherbakov, Anya Druzhinina as Fedor Toy; textile designer Sveta Gerasimova. Anna Kulachek, graphic designer currently working on the identity of Polytechnic Museum of Moscow, became a part of the team and designed project identity, referring to construction principles of izba log hut. IZBA is a first big scale curated project dedicated to Russian design.
storage, organizer / oak, marble
Shkatulka is Russian for casket. Caskets with a ‘secret’, special opening mechanism, were much appreciated in Russia from ancient times and were used for keeping valuables and important items. Storage kit Shkatulka is a system consisting of several containers. You can change their combination depending on the functional needs. Secret lock will take care of privacy.
chest of drawers / plywood, felt, gold
Pridanoe is Russian for dowry. In traditional culture, it was very important to prepare a good and substantial dowry for a bride. Families were accumulating household items, clothes and valuables for many years in a number of chests. Chests were stacked one on top of the other on the floor or on a bench. Pridanoe is a modern interpretation of an old Russian tradition, a set of various containers with a bench stand. Details are decorated with gold plate, typical material for traditional Russian culture.
accessory / plywood
This object and accessory is inspired by one of the symbols of patriarchal Russia. Wearing beards was obligatory for all men in Russia up to the end of the 17th century. A fine presumed in the legal codex of the 11th century for the damage of another man’s beard was only three times less than a fine for a murder. In the end of the 17th century Peter the Great, who pursued Western style of living, announced wearing beards illegal in towns. In the 19th century beards came back into fashion with the ideas of Slavophiles. Many famous Russian philosophers and writers chose to wear beards, for example Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov. Now you can try how it feels before growing your own.
Ventura Project organization team wearing Beards
toy / oak
The hero of Russian folk tales, a dangerous dragon with three heads, became a peaceful toy for children.
pendant light holder / oak, concrete
Svetets is a holder for luchina, a burning wooden sliver. Together they were lighting the dwelling in Russian villages up to the beginning of the 20th century. Svetets by Katerina Kopytina is a base for a pendant light, transforming it into a floor lamp.
Svetets + Muuto Unfold lamp
Svetets + Muuto Unfold lamp
rocking horse / oak
rocking horse / oak
Folk music instrument treschotka is made of thin planches of wood fixed together with a rope. In ancient culture, this instrument possessed a mystical function in addition to musical, the sound kept evil spirits away. Rocking horse for children Treschotka not only follows the folk instrument in its unusual structure, but also sounds.
candle holder / marble, wood
This candle holder is inspired by an unusual appliance found in a traditional Yakutian dwelling and displayed now in The Russian Museum of Ethnography in Saint-Petersburg. Odnosvechnik is made of marble, adjustable wooden base inside can lift the candle higher and fix it at one of three levels. Due to this, you can keep the flame on the same level for a long time.
shelf / metal
Traditionally, red is the color associated with beauty in Russian culture. Red corner, the corner you see immediately when you enter the room, is the most important and honorary place in a traditional Russian dwelling. It is the place for icons, praying and the most important things in the house. Nowadays red corner has lost its initial meaning. Maxim Maximov made his aim to understand what is important for people today. Red Corner self-standing shelf provides a perfect management for a corner space. What is the most important thing for you?
table lamp / metal, oak, led
Up to the beginning of the 20th century, traditional Russian dwellings were lit with luchina, a burning sliver of wood fixed in a metal holder. Construction of the table lamp by Maxim Maximov follows the same idea, while LED light source provides light without fire and for a considerably longer time.
pillows & pouf / textile
Many Russian people remember from their childhood a pyramid of pillows decorating the bed in their granny’s house. Anya designed one pillowcase for several pillows, making this picturesque pyramid a functional and playful object.
inflatable rain hood / textile with PVC cover
Kokoshnik, traditional Russian headwear for special occasions, in modern interpretation became an inflatable rain hood. Initially it symbolized protection and was a kind of woman’s helmet. Modern Kokoshnik protects your hairdo from the rain.
Rusalka & Rusal
Rusalka is one of the most romantic images in Slavic mythology. A female humanlike being, it can be compared to a West European mermaid. Rusalkas hide all autumn and winter in rivers, and come out to spend the summer in the fields and forests. They play among the ripening ears of corn, swing on the branches of the trees and spellbind careless young men. According to some less known folk stories, male rusalkas also exist. This became a starting point for a new story told in printed textiles.
Anna designed IZBA project identity and graphics uniting exhibition layout. Vertical lines in the logo and exhibition space interpret the structure of izba constructed of vertical logs of wood.
Mitya not only carried out a great photo session of IZBA project, but also made a very important contribution into the project identity, by introducing black colour background. Black colour is an allusion to an ancient type of izba that had no chimney and thus its walls were black with soot from the heating stove. Starting from black backgrounds in photography, black appears also in other elements of the project layout, e.g. in exhibition equipment and constructions.
Bringing together bright and active individual creators is important to give a new move to their ideas. IZBA aimes to promote Russian designers on the international scene of design and welcomes to discover potential of developing individual style within the team project work and the framework of a pre-set theme.
IZBA team at the Milan stand
Not only the objects, but also the stand of the project exhibition in Milan referred to ideas of traditional dwelling. Stand layout was build according to the main principles of space organization in izba, huge table and benches that used to gather a big family became a display for smaller objects and were welcoming visitors to sit down and have some rest after the long walks they took through all the venues of the endless Milan show.
Ventura Lambrate newspaper with members of IZBA during the exhibition set up on the front cover