From Russia with Love

From Russia with Love

You had to be there to fully appreciate the frenetic, happy atmosphere pervading the space devoted to SaloneSatellite Moscow 2019. Located at the entrance to Crocus Expo-2 for the last 15 years, before you get to Pavilions 7 and 8 of the Salone del Mobile.Milano Moscow, it continues to give the very best of welcomes to visitors to the fair, with its creativity, sense of the new, and original takes on the word “design”. From 9th to 12th October, 46 studios and individual designers under 35 from Russia and the former Soviet Republics showcased not just their own prototypes but, also and especially, the skills they are hoping to put to good use in the future.

A jury of experts, called in to choose the top designers, assigned awards to four of the contenders: Laura Reitere (1st Prize), Off Duo (2nd Prize), Katerina Krotenko (3rd Prize) and Egor Bondarenko (Special Mention). Given that the award consists of an invitation to take part in SaloneSatellite 2020 in Milan, we will have a chance to see them again for ourselves. They were all radiant. All four of them extremely original, the first two awards went to designs for children - the Power Mouse soft toy/bag for portable infusions and the Grow Old Together clothes hanger/hobbyhorse, a collection that also includes a ladder component, useful for elderly people to do up their laces and rest their walking sticks.

Shaped by Fire revives a Sixties technique of the Finnish designer Timo Sarpaneva for the Finlandia collection, which involves blowing glass into a wooden mould that is then burnt, leaving the marks of the bark imprinted on the glass surface. The result is quite unique. The Abstract Chair series is inspired by mass design, evoking Primitivism, Constructivism and Bauhaus – the infinite interchangeability of the colours and shapes of the details in a simple, clear-cut basic structure.

Browsing through the contenders, the selection was clear but well-pondered. The concrete Boolean lamp from Y30P: Uzor also held great appeal – as did the metal decorations on Ivan Basov’s retro small painted wooden Water Lilies tables; Team 40’s Terrazzo tables and the MFB backpack trolley bags accessorised like small tables by Alisher Dautov, for retrieving the quantities of waste cardboard generated by home deliveries.

Daria Cherviakova’s Throne, accessorised with optional background, for selfies, brought a smile to our faces. The Vermicelli coat hanger was designed by Elizaveta Arkadyevna Trusova with the Italian pasta she so loves in mind, along with the difficulty short people like herself often have. Wowroom Design’s Borsch lamp references a traditional Russian dish, responding to the Food as a Design Object theme of the 2019 edition of SaloneSatellite in Milan, and was also recalled for the Moscow edition. The shape of the Polypuff children’s chair can be turned into a game, thanks to the use of a tetrahedron fabric selected by Elena Medvedeva.

Even after the awards had been conferred and the winners announced, the budding designers never tired of explaining and illustrating the specifics of each project, often created by themselves and with the help of craftspeople, to the many curious and interested members of the public. A number of entrepreneurs picked up on the potential of some of them and have already set up meetings. We will hear about them soon and will tell you all about them.