Interior story #1: Jean Nouvel in Paris

01 February 2017

Any journey to Paris forms its unique, special story. It might be a touristic story, classical museum story, a romantic story – any story is precious in its own way. Our story – an interior one – became even more precious this time. It turned out to be not only the starting point for our project, but also the story of discovering whole new Paris – Paris belonging to architects, designers, craftsmen of traditional and outrageous materials, Paris of antiquity devotees and, on the contrary, of innovators and experimentalists.

Obviously, our Paris story could not avoid the visit to the exhibition of an extraordinary man of architecture and design world – Jean Nouvel. The exhibition takes place in the Museum of Applied Arts closing February 13 – wishing to attend should hurry! We made it in time and are very pleased. Here is why.

Jean Nouvel is really an outstanding person. His talent is acknowledged (2008 Pritzker Prize received) and the list of his achievements is long and highly complex (Cartier Fund and Paris Philharmonic hall buildings, Agbar torre in Barcelona and cultural center in Lucerne – those are the examples of his works as an architect solely). The quantity of unique design objects created by him exceeds 100 and it has been 30 years already as something new appears almost annually (considering the fact that Jean is over 70 years old). His touch is recognizable – laconism, chastity, functionality and essential link to the present. All of this reflects his conception and practice of the context architecture. He often says: “I am no designer; I am the architect that is engaged in design”. He praises the simplicity and denies too “talkative” and conceptual in design of the furniture and objects.

The space of the exhibition absorbs you as soon as you enter. Colonnades, bas-reliefs and stuccos of museum’s building are left behind leaving space to the geometry of lines and forms, the game of lights and shades. Gravity laws disappear and the sense of reality is lost – seems like you find yourself in the entire new dimension. With few objects around it is not entirely clear where exactly to focus the sight. This lonely chair either is a part of the exposition or is put here for the comfort of the visitors – who knows? The sunlight passing through the red-shaded glass windows, dotted blinding highlighting of some objects as a reflection of phantom mirrors: you understand it more exquisitely that the most important thing here is the atmosphere, the senses and the accents. “Sens et essence”. The contrasts are perceived even and calm – bright colorful textile covers of the sofa against the background of antique wood paneled walls touched by time and history, overwhelmingly decent aluminum table with a perfectly even surface standing on the old parquet boards close to the fireplace portal.

Nouvel’s exhibition leaves the inimitable aftertaste from the extensional perception of the surroundings – the tactile senses (all the objects were available for touching, some – to seat on), the visual delight (colors, forms, light effects), sound saturation (the one that puts you in the right mood). At some point it gets unclear – whether you look at the objects, or the objects stare at you; there is a constant silent dialogue performed and every one and every thing becomes an equal participant. We are glad to have a chance of becoming ones for some time.


Euroluce 2017: notes in the margin

15 April 2017

Euroluce is an international exhibition of lighting taking place every two years within the framework of Salone del Mobile in Milan – it’s an event that reflects trends and directions in design and architecture defining the development of the industry in the nearest future. Professionals from all over the world come here in spring with totally different agendas – to profile themselves and look at others, to search for inspiration while observing the new and to give a second thought on the old, to have a good time with like-minded people or have a critical mind and seek for flaws in the represented pieces. Anyway, Euroluce is always a must.

Lighting being an independent element of any project can be fairly called the most important part of it. Primarily influencing the quality sphere of our lives it can easily be a work of art, the main accent that gathers all the rest around it.

The importance of light and its independency inside the whole was clearly shown at the exhibition in April. A pure delight and pleasure – that’s how we can describe the stand of the beloved Flos. The brand that works with many talented and famous designers this time presented the objects that will surely become the classics of the global design.

Speaking shortly about the trends, we can highlight the following (the key ones, in our opinion):

- the continuous movement towards the simplicity and architectural approach in forms;

- shadow effects and reflections;

- the beloved colored, dichroic and gradient glass;

- decorative cords turning from supportive to independent elements – like, for example, Foscarini presented.

The results of our photo-hunt will let you see a small part of the exposition from our point of view and have a slight impression about this year’s exhibition. And some of those pieces will soon appear in our gallery…


Interior story #2: International Day of Italian Design

03 March 2017

Our next story this time brings us to Italy for several hours – but only meaningfully, without leaving the boundaries of the Garden Ring of Moscow. The festive evening took place in the Embassy of Italy in Moscow on March 2, devoted to the first International Day of the Italian Design – according to the Ambassador, all the Italian embassies in the world hosted the same event that day. For Italy, the design is not just art, creativity, self-expression, quality and aspiration towards searching and making new figures reflecting the beauty of this world. Design is a cult gathering more and more followers and we are definitely among them.

But let us return inside the boundaries of the Garden Ring. It is hard to say what comes to mind first – the contents or the form. The Embassy’s building – the great residence of 19th century in Denezhniy lane impresses with its eclecticism along with the fact that all the elements make pure harmony. Our curious sights manage to catch just a small part of it, but the atmosphere is felt right after the first step inside – the atmosphere formed both by architecture and adornments and the spirit of the past following you around. Berg, the textile magnate and millionaire, acquired the city residence from the writer Mikhail Zagoskin. The residence was built in 1897 in accordance with the project of the famous architect Petr Boitsov known for such buildings as Vladimir Khrapovitsky’s residence “Muromtsevo” in Vladimir province or the residence of Svyatopolk-Chetvertinskiy on Povarskaya street. The architect mixed completely different style directions, from Gothic and Barocco to Modern, which led to the creation of its very own style and unique charm. Rich interior – glamorous fretted ceiling, wooden panels, carved portals, majestic arches, enormous tapestries – literally locks you inside the time capsule making it impossible to believe that it is the year 2017 outside. As every old residence in Moscow, this one has not only become a part of history, but also keeps the dark history of its own. One of the arches leads to the tragically known Red parlor where history-turning event took place. July 6, 1918 here in the residence – a German Empire Embassy at the moment – German Ambassador count Wilhelm von Mirbach-Harff was murdered. According to the official version, the murder was committed by left socialist-revolutionaries to provoke the German army to stand against the Bolsheviks. They say, to this day at night the wayward ghost flies through the rooms and mumbles something in German. Comparing to this story, the fact that the electricity was brought to this house one of the first in line does not seem so fascinating. Although the “electric ball” that surprised many women and revealed their not so perfect make-up suitable only for gas lamps light is still funny.

Now – back to the contents. The event was organized with the support of two famous brands in the world of Italian design – Venini and Damiani. The jewelry story of Damiani is not quite close and familiar to us, although enraptures with its beauty and quality of production. Whereas Venini for us is a pure inspiration and legacy worth joining though for a couple of hours. No secret that new fresh ideas, forms, proportions and mixtures of materials and textures are nothing but the old and common seen through the prism of time and technology. More than 90-year history of Venini brand started on the isle of Murano – and no, not from the family workshop (how it may seem), but from the business partnership of the two – the antiquary and the lawyer from Milan (Paolo Venini). They revived the interest to the Murano glass and returned it back to being fashionable creating neat pieces from the superfine glass when it was more common for the workshops to create something with too detailed décor. Through its almost a 100-year existence, the company survived many ups and downs – the changes of the owners and designers, separations and mergers, different techniques of work, fires and triumph come-backs with new forms and colors. All of the events in its history formed the unmatched style and pattern, the outstanding identity of Venini brand.

In 2011 Venini celebrated its anniversary – 90 years by making a large-scale moving exhibition engaging museums all over the world – the Museum of Glass in Murano, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice, Shanghai museum of glass and Bagatti Valsecchi museum in Milan. Since 2012 the brand has performed a major 10-year project of individual authorial exhibitions of artisans working with Venini that are gathered using materials from brand’s archives. The first exhibition was devoted to the designer Carlo Scarpa named «CarloScarpa. VENINI 1932-1947» and turned out to be a success.

Especially for the festive event some of the brand’s famous works were brought and exhibited in Moscow - VERONESE (Vittorio Zecchin), FUOCHI D’ARGENTO and SIDERALE by the designer Giorgio Vigna who was present at the event and told some interesting things about the technological process, inspiration sources and the experience of collaborating with other global brands. Today Venini is a part of Italian Luxury Industries group that bought out Venini in 2001 and aspires to reflect the approach set by Paolo Venini since 1921 – to focus on exclusivity, high quality of production and luxurious design.

We are sure – and reminded this to ourselves one more time – that the glass is our favorite material so far. It can be easily transformed, be both a shell and contents, it is dynamic and flexible, changeable and static at the same time. And Venini demonstrates the complication and simplicity of this material for almost a hundred years.

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