Major Studio Project. Part 1

Page 1




Raffles University 06.2020




The Reading List............................................................................................



NATIONAL IDENTITY & HERITAGE TODAY. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT. Орнамика..................................................................... 12

ARCHITECTURAL INTERPRETATION OF THE UDMURT apron PATTERN. . .............................................................


From Yelets lace to neuro lace....................................................................




Uldus Bakhtiozina..........................................................................................


Roma Uvarov..................................................................................................


Olga Soldatova . . .............................................................................................


Harry Nuriev.. ..................................................................................................


Irina and Olga Sundukov.. .............................................................................


Andrey Budko. . ...............................................................................................


Diana Balashova.. ...........................................................................................




ET DOMUS SUA CUIQUE EST TUTISSIMUM REFUGIUM At Home at Work as a macro trend today................................................................... 32 Working from home. Is it a novelty?............................................................


Home as a video background......................................................................


Alternatives for luxury bags.. ........................................................................


Attributes of the traditional Russian House.. ............ 40 Russian Design before 1917..........................................................................


Modern Interpretation of traditional items . . .............. 46 “Traditional” means pre-soviet.....................................................................


Russian House as a Fairy Tale.....................................................................


Russian House as a Scary Story..................................................................




Triangular-groove wood carving................................ 71

Wood Carving These days. . ..........................................................................


Pattern Reconstruction................................................ 78 Contemporary Cyrillic lettering....................................................................




Visual search................................................................ 90 Final Directions............................................................ 108






Interpretation the relationships between t Concepts and approaches.


ere, there are presented three concepts to the interpretation of relationships between Modernity and Past. The idea of Baudelaire is that modernity aimed to capture the eternal from the transient. Mallarme’s offered to focus only on the present moment. Finally, Benjamin’s suggested so-called “tiger sprung” meaning that inspiration can be found not in the past but the memory about the past. All these can be applied as design approaches. Studying each of these, I concluded that my design approach absolutely corresponds to Benjamin’s concept. I believe that the past (or better to say “heritage”) is an excellent source for inspiration! But as a designer, I should not transcribe a literal history but must mix and juxtapose ideas, and in the end, adapt it to the current time. Thus, the described approach will be the basis for this project.

” CHARLES BAUDELAIRE 1821-1867 poet and art critic Modern Beauty is defined by Baudelaire as the dialectic tension existing as a product of the era’s aesthetic, but also as the manifestation of an eternal aesthetic ideal. In this context, the artist’s purpose is to find what can be saved and perpetuated in these short-lived items. In a way, Baudelaire’s definition of modern Beauty is partially conservative. The constant renewal of fashion appears as a distraction, a necessary constraint that allows the artist to escape from academism and boredom. Yet, the artist’s real purpose, for the author, lies in the research of an element of permanency. In that sense, Baudelaire doesn’t stand against the platonic conception of Beauty, whereby the poet seeks the” divine cake”, “the stone dream”, the eternal and pure form.


the Modernity and Past.






writer and art critic

In Beauty and Usefulness one must introduce a degree of Truthfulness. Beauty can just become some sort of forsaken ornament. Usefulness on its own, if the purpose is mediocre, can express only inelegance. To shape in true fashion demands a certain oblivion from the artisan as to what the use of the object will be; that is what counts — the application of the idea as a totally modern expression of truth. This transformation of the gift of creativity does not come without flaws or failure; yet what marvel, in the achievement, can exist in that umbrella, that black suit, that coupé.

History is the object of a construction whose place is formed not in homogenous and empty time, but in that which is fulfilled by the here-and-how [Jetztzeit]. For Roberspierre, Roman antiquity was a past charged whith the here-and-how, which he explored out of the continuum of history. The French revolution thought of itself as a latterday Rome. It cited ancient Rome exactly the way fashion cites a past costume. Fashion has an eye for what is up-to-date, wherever it moves in the jungle [Dickicht : maze, thicket] of what was. It is the tiger’s leap into that which has gone before. Only it takes place in an arena in which the ruling classes are un control. The same leap into the open sky of history is the dialectical one, as Marx conceptualized the revolution.




Interpretation the relationships between the M odernity and Past. C oncepts and approaches.


National Identity & Heritage today. Why it is important. made by Lagerfeld. Also, there was a minor trend to Babushka’s headscarf among some American celebrities. All these were mostly interpretations of something visually recognizable or even funny hype. When I started my first project related to the Russian art & craft movement (end of 19th century), I did not have to meet any enthusiasm (or better to say “interest”) from my tutors. Although I started to research and discovered a lot! I found out that Russia had internationallyrecognized artists, architects, and designers, who were working in a unique national style.


uring my practice, I have heard an opinion that Russia has nothing to say to the international community in terms of design. Another belief was that Russia already had said its main words due to ballet and avantgarde. The most often prejudice about Russian

cultural symbols I have ever heard was about Matreshka, Kokoshnik, and Babushka. Indeed, during the last ten years, Russia was kind of a trend (mostly in Fashion), and we noticed several amazing collections, including

Another project was related to a jewelry company from the same period. And again, it was discovered that Russian designers had brought to the world something distinctive and commercially successful at the same time. In 2018, I have surveyed design students to figure out their attitude to national heritage. I have discovered that a lot of respondents have


At the same time, it is an attempt to understand the way how people percept culture and why some notions become recognizable (better to say hype) cultural symbols (say, cliches).

no idea about their history and culture, and judging it based on stereotypes. For now, the situation is changing. I see a lot of young aspiring designers who do not hesitate to use national motifs. To me, this project is a chance to make a personal impact on the promotion of true Russian heritage.

N ational I dentity & Heritage today. W hy it is important.



I proposed to interpret specific Russian embellishing patterns and used for decoration any kind of furniture. One of the collaboration aspects with Ornamika is that I have to interpret only one reference and provide them some ideas about that. For my project, I aim to look at the roots of the craft technique, the symbols behind, and work with a variety of references. The higher goal is to develop a pattern system that can be applied to any surface as decoration or in any functional purpose.

Usually, I do not believe in signs, but this time. When I started to think about this project, I noticed that a Russian non-profit organization that aims to collect, restore, and digitize Russian national patterns and motifs, called designers to participate. I sent them my presentation and ideas and was chosen as one of ten commercial designers.


N ational I dentity & Heritage today. W hy it is important.


In this work, an architect experimented on transferring the geometry of an embroidered pattern to an architectural solution of a small form — the summer exhibition pavilion in the park. The result was a very airy, aesthetic solution with filling the elements of the pattern with vertical landscaping.


Ор на м ика


Examples of interpretation


The author of this interpretation was interested in working with lace. Lace is very graphic and reminds the image created by a computer algorithm (a lot of repeating elements have their characteristic “complexity”). So, the task of the experiment was formed: decompose the lace into components and rebuild the resulting features in new random compositions, and mimic an AI algorithm. N ational I dentity & Heritage today. W hy it is important.



A contemporary interpretation of National motifs by Russian designers It is exciting to watch how contemporary Russian designers evaluate national heritage. More interesting to see how the percept symbols of culture. They do not hesitate to play with cliches and combine the opposite. “Heritage” as a notion has an absolutely different meaning for each of them. Also, ‘National roots” for some of them is a kind of distinctive feature on the international market.



ULDUS BAKHTIOZINA irony cliche mythology story telling symbolism romanticism pre-soviet

A contemporary interpretation of N ational motifs by R ussian designers




humor irony cliche combination of soviet & pre-soviet symbols

A contemporary interpretation of N ational motifs by R ussian designers




romanticism simplicity technicality soviet avant garde

A contemporary interpretation of N ational motifs by R ussian designers




minimalism color personal background & roots eclecticism

A contemporary interpretation of N ational motifs by R ussian designers




Russian art (before soviet) symbolism balance between contemporary and historical references (they have it almost everywhere)

A contemporary interpretation of N ational motifs by R ussian designers


minimalism cliche innovation




combination of everything — eclecticism pop art often citation of before soviet

A contemporary interpretation of N ational motifs by R ussian designers



Et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium These days the concept “Home as a place for living” is dramatically changing. And common expressions such as “My house my rules” or “My house is a castle” for now are relevant as ever. In this project, I would like to research not only the way how National heritage could be interpreted in contemporary design but also how it could be applied in the modern houses (not only Russian but generally) and in new reality perspectives.



For some, it will be remembered as a time of anguish over failing relationships, financial crises, or losing loved ones to Covid-19. Even for those who are spared such distress, the collective trauma may prompt them to radically reconsider how they wish to live and work in the future.


bserving this general trend, I noticed three directions (or ideas) that can be applied to develop personal concepts for this project.

hide their environment. Vise versa, how they started to express their personality through objects from home interiors on videos.

First, how the furniture is changing and how designers aim to add a variety of functions to one simple object.

Third, what other challenges (apart from manufacture reassignment) the luxury industry has met during this shifting time. Mainly what additional functionality luxury objects can acquire to be sold.

Second, how people (who before the virus have preformed their videos from professional studios, or never broadcast) were affected, how they aim to


Spanish furniture designer Fernando Abellanas, who, unable to afford studio rents in Valencia, constructed a suspended workspace with a desk, seat and shelves beneath a concrete road bridge.

E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


a palm tree”) is clearly seen at least during the last ten years. The novelty of these days case is that for now, people aim to show not only themselves on camera but also the place they are living and working. A home (interior, home office, a working area from home) is becoming not a private place for the work or relaxing, but a place of personal pride and proof of effectiveness and distinctiveness. A lot of prominent designers were trying to solve the problem of making the “work from home” process more cozy and comfortable through adding some extra functionality to traditional “home” or “office” objects. They were trying to convert one-function objects to multifunctional items. 244 Myworld Sofa by Philippe Starck (2013)



lthough some experts are saying that the “home-work” pattern will change, and a lot of people will prefer to work from home after COVID, it can be stated that this trend generally is old news. The employees’ shift from office to home-office (or office “under

COALESSE by Jean-Marie Massaud (2013)

At Home at Work as a macro trend today

Here, I put some iconic examples of this transformation. I aimed to find examples from the past to prove


First potential direction for the concept development

Gravity by Peter Opsvik (1983)

that market was ready for this trend for some time. It is funny that most of the examples I found were either sitting places or tables. It is totally understandable since references to the idea of the working area at any spot of the house. However, it seems that most of these designs were made for those kinds of workers who can stay focus in any environment (even in a cozy chair). But what about those majority who have no such self-control?

Hosu by Patricia Urquiola (2012)

E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


At Home at Work as a macro trend today


Second potential direction for the concept development


Here are screenshots from broadcasts of some (mostly Russian) celebrities, musicians, politicians, and other persons from media. All videos were released during the lockdown. Most of them had to change professional studios to the home environment to continue broadcasting. It was interesting to notice how the behavior and style of performers have changed. Some started to hide the flat behind digital or physical screens. For some, it is an opportunity to express themselves through bookshelves, wall decorations, carpets, lavish furniture, provocative (or not) posters. Some shows just a minority of space preferring their own face. And some need to clean all the area fast to dance, sing, etc.

E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


Yet, for now, it is seen how media started to promote luxury goods, not like attributes of successful active life, but as a part of intimate and quite parts of house decoration. Almost $300 bag became a part of an art wall or a plant pot. The bag for $1495 as toy storage looks even more exciting.

STAUD Moon bag $295


I noticed that it was not so trendy to be a homebody during at least five-seven years. Fashion magazines (at first), Instagram (for a while) showed that it is better hanging out at chick places with the cool guys around or having meetings at coworking areas. For some, it was better to spend more on a lavish bag than invest in a living place that is just for sleeping and storing stuff.

At Home at Work as a macro trend today

I believe that this new approach will be adopter for a long time. And we will see such advertising with even more unexpected objects. This trend is caused by not the COVID and quarantine (that were just a trigger),

STAUD Shirley $295


GU_DE Clear Water shoulder bag $538

Third potential direction for the concept development

RATIO ET MOTUS Twin Frame leather tote $1495

but searching for new ways to promote luxury goods. For designers, it is time to think more about people’s (customers’ and users’) emotions rather than fast profit and only the decorative side of design. And also, pay some attention to how accessories that cost a fortune can be useful indirectly.

E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


ATTRIBUTES OF THE TRADITIONAL RUSSIAN HOUSE First of all, one question must be asked: What is the traditional Russian House? Is it referring to ancient times? That period gave us a variety of references, such as royal chambers, the estate of a nobleman, or a peasant’s hut. Each of these houses can be perceived as “traditional” in some ways. Another perspective is the House of Soviet Citizens. This part of Russian culture gave us different symbols and cultural patterns.

And finally, the first-decade afterSoviet period can be treated as another cultural notion. For many young Russians, this period also became something from the past. And for many of them — a mysterious past that is gone. To me, there is also no straight forward answer to this question. But what I can state is that we (Russian) as a nation lost something culturally distinctive after 1917. There was always some profound contradiction in terms of our identity as a nation. And those who tried to solve this problem before 1917, for now, is almost forgotten.

Attributes of the traditional Russian H ouse


E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


Attributes of  the  traditional Russian H ouse


RUSSIAN DESIGN BEFORE 1917 As a notion (or movement), Russian design was born at the end of the 19th century, when some welleducated but not so noble or royalty individuals (bourgeois) started to create everyday objects for a living. Most of the time, for them, it was not the only professional direction. The market only had begun to evolve (comparing to jewelry, that was well developed). These professionals established a core of the local Art & Craft movement with two main creative centers — Abramtsevo and Talashkino. The main goal for both was to evaluate, interpret, and preserve national heritage. After the revolution of 1917, the activity of these centers was stopped. Most of the specialists have emigrated. Those who stayed and cooperated with a new government chose different (more corresponded to new reality) creative approaches. E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


From a personal perspective


ere I put objects that, in my opinion, should be placed in a traditional Russian house. In must be mentioned that my opinion has a little in common with real history. It is more of an impression, based on my experience and knowledge. Most of these examples were designed at the beginning of the 20th century and were intended to take place in some wealthy persons’ houses, who admired the “Russian” style. Although these objects have different functionality and must be placed in different parts of a house, they have something in common. First, a high amount of decorative elements. Russian style generally is incredibly decorative, and patterns are mesmerizing, despite the general simplicity of shape. Presented Bratina (which is a kettle or jar) is an exception. Second, wood is one of the favorite materials of those days artisans and designers (among with ceramics, precious metals, and fabric). Finally, the color palette is not vivid (as usually assumed), but more natural, even desaturated. It is also caused mostly by fashion and designers’ interpretation of that time. But after more than a hundred years only art specialists remember that. As a designer, I feel a full right to play with this knowledge. Besides, all of these objects are no longer relevant. So for any potential adaptation, it is required to glance at their evolution at first. I have no strict plan to design any of these. To me, it is essential to observe current trends and general spirit.

Attributes of the traditional Russian H ouse


E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium




t is interesting to follow how objects from the traditional house were transformed in terms of functionality and style. The goal was to find some modern references and look at how objects have changed, and analyze what the place for them in a contemporary house is. It was an attempt to find some distinctive pieces of furniture in modern design. So, the creative approach was one of the most important while searching. However, the balance between functionality and decorativeness in chosen objects was also required.


E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


a Chest A chest is a multifunctional thing: in a traditional Russian house, it was safe for essential items, at the same time a guest seat or even a bed. These days, it becomes storage for shoes or old magazines. In the case of guests, the chest, as in the past days, will quickly become something else: for example, a coffee table or a couch. In terms of style, it is interesting to follow how local (Russian) companies are trying to avoid national heritage and selling “American” or “Asian” style as something distinctive or modern.

Modern Interpretation of traditional items


E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


a Bench In the Russian hut, a bench was a multifunctional piece and served as a sitting, resting, and sleeping place. A spacious bench could replace a sofa at a crowded party. If the seat is wide enough, those guests who delayed until the morning might nap on it. In regular times, a bench can be used instead of a table, a TV stand or a shelf for books and flowers. Here, I wanted to show that these days a bench could be more of Fine art than a simple sitting piece. Combining wood ads epoxy resin, carving a seat from a solid branch (or just imitate so), even burned cloth or imitation of some kind of a structure with metal wire is possible to apply to a simple shape.

Modern Interpretation of traditional items



BENJAMIN GRAINDORGE E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


Napkins and Tablecloths Tablecloths and napkins are festive decorations in a traditional Russian interior. They can be used as an easy way to make minimalistic interior cozier by the arrival of guests or just change the space for a particular mood. The embroidered napkin can be laid on a work or dining table, on a chest of drawers, or any other surface in the house. Textile definitely is not something only two-dimensional. There are a lot of techniques that can add a required volume to any everyday object. One of the given examples is made in the textile collage technique. Another one is a full three-dimensional embroidered pillow with several layers of embellishment.

THEDINKYDOODLESTUDIO Modern Interpretation of traditional items


E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


a Kettle A self-brewing unit is no longer a surprise, so another option is the kettle that stands at the head of the table. Any China-tea admirer can be easily surprised by traditional Russian tea-mix of willowherb, linden blossom, berries, and honey. Another tradition is drinking tea from the saucer.

GEORG JENSEN HELENA TEAPOT WITH COASTER Modern Interpretation of traditional items




NIKOLO KERIMOV E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


a Fireplace The traditional Russian stove was a genuinely multifunctional piece. One object was functioned as a place for sleeping, cooking, and sometimes bathing, but most of all, it served to heat a living area. Today, all these functions are performed by different objects. Mostly decorative and sometimes unnecessary, a fireplace still is one of the center points of a place. And creative shapes make living area original and distinctive.

Modern Interpretation of traditional items




ERCOLE AK47 E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


a Buffet The traditional Russian stove was a genuinely multifunctional piece. One object was functioned as a place for sleeping, cooking, and sometimes bathing, but most of all, it served to heat a living area. Today, all these functions are performed by different objects. Mostly decorative and sometimes unnecessary, a fireplace still is one of the center points of a place. And creative shapes make living area original and distinctive.

Bram Kerkhofs COIL

Modern Interpretation of traditional items


Front Mikado Cupboard

Buj+Colรณn Arquitectos

Studio Ben Allen Room For One More E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium



t was not a survey, just a question to my friends on Instagram. I was curious to check how differently we all percept such a trivial problem. I cannot say that I was surprised that most of the friends start to ask some additional information about the context. To me, it was essential to get the first impression, something subconscious. And I got it.

Here graphic designer gave me a visual symbol - so-called “Russian lace-windows.” By the way, the ballet dancer also gave me a reference to windows, but Soviet ugly cold windows. I can easily understand both connotations.

Modern Interpretation of traditional items


DIY girl gave me clear subconscious reference to her childhood recalled a bird cage.


With Fine artist, I had an almost onehour discussion about the meaning of the “Russian house” notion. The person gave me a precise classification of different periods of national culture. Regarding her identification, I discovered that our interpretation kind of the same.

E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


Modern Interpretation of traditional items



Thinking about references that my friends gave me, I  came up with the idea that when we are thinking about traditional Russian house (from a positive perspective), we most of the time recall Teremok — beautiful magic house made of wood. Something that we remember from fairy tales.

E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


Modern Interpretation of traditional items



The other side of perceiving the Russian House is recalling something not so magical as Teremok, but rather scary. Some of my friends (so I am) remember a bit about not so bright part of Soviet history, meaning not culture but everyday life and problems. For example, how hard it was to get any ordinary objects such as furniture and how ugly and uncomfortable these objects were. How hard it was to get own flat, so several generations had been living together in a limited area. Most of these memories we are trying to forget as a nightmare.

E t domus sua cui que est tutissimum refugium


Russian woodcraft


ood carving is a traditional Russian craft. This art occupies a dominant position among other crafts in one way or another related to the processing of wood or its parts. For example, weaving from birch bark or willow vines, the construction of wooden objects. The life of Russia was inextricably linked with wood that was utilized to make cradles and toys for children, cutlery (dishes, spoons), tool for other types of crafts (spindle for yarn and spinning machine), jewelry, furniture and even transportation (sleds, carts, boats). All these were almost always decorated with wooden carved ornaments. The most popular tree species that are used for carving in Russia are equally related to coniferous and deciduous trees: •

Conifers — larch, pine, cedar, spruce, fir, and some others.

Deciduous — Linden, birch, maple, alder, oak, etc.

It is worth noting that not many examples of ancient carved items have reached our times. The reason is that the tree is not durable, especially if it is exposed to the constant destructive effects of the sun, wind, and water. Also, it must be mention that these items did not perceive as a piece of art and craft by people.

Items for making clothes with the symbols of the sun


R ussian woodcraft




Here presented a range of items that were designed by professional artist in the beginning of 20 century. Today, each of these items represents the national heritage, although it has a little to do with truly ancient examples. Nevertheless, these pieces represent the most features and characteristics of traditional Russian home objects. All are made of wood, richly decorated with variety of carving techniques.

R ussian woodcraft



TRIANGULAR-GROOVE WOOD CARVING Geometric carving – one can say it is the most ancient type of wood carving. By the nature of the performance, the geometric thread is divided into triangular-grooved and clamped. It is important to note that during the 18th-19th centuries throughout the vast expanse of the twelve northern provinces of Russia, the decor of Russian huts included

abundant solar signs, which dated back to pagan times. This old picture of the world was observed with incredible rigor. Experts agreed that during that time, there was no proper system is patterns assembling. So, it can be concluded that in that time, the ancient meaning of pagan symbols was forgotten, and craftsman combined patterns as wished.


1. Triangular-groove wood carving variety of elements 2. Carving example of one of the elements 3. Сooper mug and cutting board decorated with triangular groove carving

Triangular-groove wood carving




3. R ussian woodcraft


Triangular-groove wood carving




a. c.

b. c. d.

d. e.






a. rosette pattern;

a. “shine” inscribed in a rhombus;

b. herringbone pattern;

b. “shine” inscribed in a square;

c. “honeycomb” pattern;

c. marking of the pattern of “shining” inscribed

d. star pattern; e. the “ladder” pattern is straight; f.

the “ladder” pattern is inclined;

in a circle; d. the direction of movement of the knife when cutting the pattern of “shine” inscribed in various geomet-

g. pattern “squares”;

ric shapes (the background indicates the direction

h. four-guard pyramids inscribed in diamonds;

of the wood fibers).


triangles inscribed in the chaps;


asterisks inscribed in honeycombs.

R ussian woodcraft


Triangular-groove wood carving



This type of Russian craft is definitely faced better times. Unfortunately, today, this type of craft looks more archaic than a distinctive part of heritage. The research showed that local craftsmen are decorating mostly caskets or furniture for children (that often is terrible quality). It was noticed that most of the items were made on CNC machines. And handmade items cost more, but the design is absolutely the same as machinemade. Sad, but true: the craft has hundreds of years of history and traditions that hundred years ago experienced a renaissance, today, for the most people is just something boring and dull.

R ussian woodcraft




or a better understanding of the traditional pattern structure, it was decided to reconstruct one of the examples and recognize some essential elements. All graphic elements are used in a given case were identified. It was noticed that usually in such items as distaff below, a craftsman combined three essential elements: •

Geometric patterns,

Floral patterns,

Traditional lettering. Usually, names and dates.

It must be said that such type of decoration as traditional lettering is a distinctive feature of Russian style in general. It can be perceived as a traditional type of customization of a product. It this example, I did not aim to investigate this field in this stage of the project. It must be kept in mind. Floral pattern, in my opinion, is the weakest part of the composition. I assume that the craftsman did not have additional designs to fill in blank space. As researched, there were not so many options to work with. Or probably the master did not want to invent something new. The most substantial part of the composition is geometrical parts of a pattern. The primary value for this project is that the pattern can be utilized with parametric tools (such as Grasshopper). In this case, it is possible to talk not only about just a range of decorative elements but about a systematic solution that can be applied to any purpose (and surface).

Pattern R econstruction


R ussian woodcraft


Pattern R econstruction


R ussian woodcraft


Pattern R econstruction



I assume that this is the only part of Russian heritage that successfully exists today. Here I put some works one of the most prominent Cyrillic lettering artists — Viktor Pushkarev, who made a significant contribution to modern development and popularization of this type of national art. Also, he developed a current system of traditional lettering based on ancient references. Today, this system is the most straightforward way to learn traditional Cyrillic lettering.

R ussian woodcraft



Ideation This part requires to combine all research sources into several concepts. To me, it means that I have to avoid direct repeating both historical references or any objects I evaluated. It is essential to interpret research and to adapt it to modernity. It is required to generate the list of different concepts with a written and visual explanation of the basic idea that can be further investigated. The possible outcome for this stage could be a brief for the product design development in the next semester.



assume this was the most sophisticated research I have made. I aimed to combine a range of different fields and to see what kind of results can be gained. To me, it was kind of risky experiment where I had no idea what to expect. My higher goal was to focus a lot on theory and history, as far as I believe that elaborating such detailed concepts can be highly beneficial for my future professional development. I do not want to hide that I mainly worked with the sources of my personal interests. Probably, for some such approach looks selfish, during the strange time we are living now. I believe that especially now, we need some items that can emotionally distract us from reality rather than another social distancing device. Looking at the research results, I see a lot of gaps, which filling in might have enriched the research. But overall, there is more than enough information to provide several design concepts that a required outcome for this project.







Walter Benjamin, the German philosopher, and art critics, once said: “The traces coming from the past are neither inert and petrified relics nor simple objects to confine to a museum. They rather need to be read as sort of sparks able to set alight the fuse of the explosive material placed in what has already been. Sparks






with future in which past meets present”. This statement made almost 100 years ago looks relevant now. Today, when creative ideas must be gained as fast as possible due to the market

The project requires extensive research from a variety of fields. The success of interpretation depends on how many sources will be studied and critically analyzed. There must be the focus not only on repeating history in design but on the idea of how these findings could be applied today. PLAY


TALK Present the list of concepts with detailed evaluation and explain the reasons for choosing one for the future development.

demands, it seems pertinent to find inspiration in history (as a vast source of already developed ideas). Moreover, when the design approaches are often guiding not by creativity and curiosity, but lawyers or authorities, it seems more relevant to look at national heritage to avoid accusing in any cultural appropriation. TASK National heritage is not only an excellent source for inspiration or a way to give another life for something from the past but also a way to add some distinctiveness to design. This

DELIVERABLES Project Log with detailed description of research and ideation.

project aims to find a way to apply traditional

Several concepts based on research.

Russian art & craft to contemporary objects.

Presentation of the concepts with extensive evaluation.

The goal is to prove that references from national heritage in modern interpretation can be recognized and accepted these days. DETAILS These days humanity is experiencing a significant shift in social behavior, which causes the rise of a lot of new long-lasting trends. Therefore, it seems relevant to evaluate such a concept as “Home” in terms of both the current environment and described ideas for research.




that can be faced while designing. During several brainstorm sessions, it was essential to gain as much as possible. This approach requires not only rational solutions but also crazy ideas. I do not think that among these 15, some really crazy could be found. But probably, this is a question of perceiving and the level of expectation. On the other hand, as far as this project is personal, I tried to bring my perspectives and approaches, which often require more detailed thinking, problem-solving, and connection uncombined (at first sight). The theoretical research helped with the last point the most.


he extensive research gave me a lot of “food for thought.” As far as I chose Home as a primary direction to my research, and traditional Russian Home as a primary source of inspiration, I decided that goods for the interior will be my first focus. To me, the approach of finding ideas visually means rough sketching that highlights some significant issues

The plan for visual research was, as mentioned, to get


some rough ideas based on the research. After that, it was required to choose the best (the most potential) for the future investigation.

line for different TA (and different prices). This amount is definitely not a limit, but I believe it is enough to choose.

The result of this part is 15 ideas (or better to say rough concepts) that can be transferred to the basis for the final project more or less successfully. It means that each of the presented could be grown as a product


1. Three sections screen-table. Full surface rotation.


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to table.

2. Two sections screen-table. One section fixed, another — rotating



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3. Half surface folding screen

Legs are hidden.

Joints must be invisible.

Problem of thickness.


4. Changing height screen

Folded fully — hide sitting man.

Unfolded fully — hide adult man.



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5. Пятнашки - puzzle game screen

Feels heavy.

Variety directions moving sections.

Grid frame.


6. Cabinet with “puzzled� doors

There will still be a lot of space around.

Arranging souvenirs, diplomas and stuff.



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7. Screen as a curtain

It is not a blind, it is a game allowing to play with sun and reflections.

Color combinations, variety of shapes, textures. Can be modified by user.

Mood reflections.


8. Screen lamp



9. Screen blinds - full wall


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10. Cabinet mini-studio screen

For handmade people. For home studios.



How might we to improve storage system for luxury accessories to help customers enjoy their goods while at home


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11. Full wall surface to hang clothes and accessories



12. Transparent containers for bags

Stuff must be preserved from dust.


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13. Cabinet with transparent doors that are displaying stuff

Storing only small accessories to make door as lightweight as possible.



14. Display table

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Why it is always just squares?

Adapt patterns structure.


15.Transparent floor storage/ sitting place

Do you want to sit or lay on your expensive stuff? No value.




FINAL DIRECTIONS Among 15 rough concepts I chose four, I believe I have the most substantial potential for further development. All ideas related to the Home topic and inspired (in some ways) of traditional Russian house or/ and Russian craft. Although the project has strong historical references, each concept aims to offer a solution for current reality problems, which establish a connection claimed at the beginning of the research.

F inal Directions





screen is one of the easiest ways to divide any space without any construction work. It helps to hide and get some privacy. At the same time, it can be easily folded, and the room is becoming more spacious. Current reality shows that often a person needs a private place and personal time (for chilling or work or broadcast) even in a small apartment. Also, for some families, it is hard to find a piece of furniture that can unite all of them for some shared activities (dinner, table

F inal Directions

games, etc.), as far as huge tables are no longer trendy (and small flats have no space for such luxury). The main idea of this concept is to combine the functionality of a screen that helping to get privacy and a table that can unite people when such unity is required. This idea fully corresponds to the concept of traditional Russian house, where most of the objects were multifunction. And decoration based on traditional woodcraft will help to add some distinctive features to the design.



How might we improve the functionality of a screen to make it not only room divider but also an object for work or/ and entertainment?

Screen-Table Ideation


F inal Directions






he screen can become one of the essential pieces for the home interior. Mobility but functionality are highly required for home goods, especially when some need both to work and to rest at home. Today, many private apartments also became a place to broadcast from. In some cases, the parts of the interior must be hidden, but in another, it must be shown. Screen as a static object (in the way of height) cannot perform such functionality. It seems right to think about adding extra ability to change the height

F inal Directions

of the screen when required. This will help to add dynamics to the basic look of the object. Also, these movable sections can be a visual indicator for others when a person needs privacy and when the person is available to chat. The static parts can be decorated with a traditional Russian woodcraft pattern. For dynamic parts, there are a lot of ways for decoration or extra functionality.



How might we improve the functionality of a screen to add the extra ability of hiding and showing anything if needed?

Various height screen Ideation


F inal Directions


Various height screen




or those who are obliged to remain at home, a window is the only way to see the real world and get some natural light. It is known that both sunlight and color can affect a person’s mood. For those who work from home, such an impact can help to stay more focused and productive, or the opposite — to relax faster when needed. This concept is offering the idea to rethink the usual blinds or curtains and evaluate how playing with the sunlight (or electricity light) can help those who

F inal Directions

spend a lot of time at home to get a bit more from this source of energy and mood. The idea is to study connections of color blends, textures, and materials, and to find the best combinations for playing with sunlight. The concept is offering both presets and gives the user experiment with a variety of options for getting unique mixtures. In traditional Russian house, a window frame was one of the most distinctive features but from outside. Here it is offered to make a window as one of the essential parts of the interior.



How might we rethink the concept of blinds to make it a more emotional part of an interior that affecting a mood?

Mood Blinds Ideation


F inal Directions


Mood Blinds




hen a person spends a fortune on accessories but has to stay at home and cannot enjoy any of these goods, it feels frustrating (and for some - devastating). From another perspective, luxury brands and independent artisans and designers are suffering as far as customers no longer need beautiful stuff. The question is how customers can enjoy the possession and creators can still produce for people and earn. It is believed that ownership is not only displaying goods to others but also an ability to observe things.

F inal Directions

So, for the current reality, the tool (or storage) that will help you enjoy things by watching is required. This concept is offering to convert a table into a display case for precious goods. This idea will help to enjoy favorite accessories personally, to display them to real or virtual guests, and at the same time to preserve products from dust. The cell structure to arrange goods inside the table is inspiring by traditional Russian woodcraft patterns.



How might we improve the storage system for luxury accessories to help a person enjoy their goods while staying at home?

Display Table Ideation


F inal Directions


Display Table




What is next? For now, I think that the idea of Mood Blinds has the most potential for further investigation. Furthermore, I believe that just a prototype production is not the only possible outcome. It seems right to spend time next semester to gain new skills in texturing and recap my knowledge in parametric modeling.

Ksenia Semirova Raffles University 06.2020

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