Soviet Design

From Constructivism to Modernism. 1920-1980

From Constructivism to Art Deco and back to Avant-garde and Bauhaus: transformations of Soviet interior design through six decades

 

Title Information

Kristina Krasnyanskaya and Alexander Semenov. With forewords by Elizaveta Likhacheva and Christina Lodder

1st edition

, 2020

Hardback

448 pages, 257 color and 171 b/w illustrations

24.5 x 30 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-846-1

In cooperation with Heritage International Art Gallery, Moscow

Content

The Soviet Union left behind a vast design heritage that is largely unknown in the West. Unlike Soviet-era architecture and graphic design, interior design from this period has not been thoroughly investigated. For the first time, this book offers a comprehensive survey of Soviet interior design from constructivism and the revolutionary avant-garde to late modernism.

Based on extensive research and drawing on archives that were inaccessible until recently, Kristina Krasnyanskaya and Alexander Semenov document seven decades of interior design in the Soviet Union. They demonstrate that, while often discredited as monotonous, the work of designers, architects, and manufacturers behind the Iron Curtain, in fact, comprises a remarkable variety of original styles. The 1920s were marked by bold exploration and experimentation at state-run art and technical school Vkhutemas and by overlapping movements such as constructivism, rationalism, and suprematism. The 1930s brought Soviet art deco and Stalinist Empire style, which produced some of the Soviet Union’s most iconic buildings. In the late 1950s, after Stalin’s death, modernism emerged with functionalist furniture mass-produced to fit small apartments in housing developments. The 1960s marked the Golden Age of Soviet interior design, while most of the visionary work of a new generation of designers in the 1970s remained unrealized.

With some four-hundred illustrations and a wealth of previously unpublished material, Soviet Design will become the definitive reference on the subject.

 

 

Kristina Krasnyanskaya is an art historian and founder of Heritage International Art Gallery in Moscow. She was curator of the 2015 exhibition Soviet Design: From Constructivism to Modernism, 1920s–1960s in collaboration with Moscow’s Shchusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow.

 

Alexander Semenov is an expert in Soviet design and a research associate at Saint-Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design.

Authors & Editors
Praise

"This is not one of the typical treatises, which are almost slavishly based on chronology. Here the levels of transformation in Soviet design since 1917 can be experienced above all through the successful large-format illustrations." Michael Lausberg, scharf-links

 

"Not a delicate illustrated book, but a real chunk: This new publication pays tribute to the sparsely researched Soviet design beyond clichés. And it shows how far the design goes beyond steep edges and colorfully painted matryoshkas." Katharina Cichosch, Monopol

 

"Shows the diversity of Soviet interior design and Soviet furniture design from six decades." Raum und Wohnen

 

"Based on material from recently accessible archives, this volume offers a comprehensive insight into the achievements of interior design between the revolutionary avant-garde and socialist modernism." Umbauen + Renovieren

 

"This book offers the first overview of the creative achievements between the revolutionary avant-garde and socialist modernism. Through material from recently accessible archives and with a large number of previously unpublished documents, a new perspective is revealed." Caroline Wanderberg, formfaktor

 

"For the first time, this book offers a comprehensive survey of Soviet interior design from constructivism and the revolutionary avant-garde to late modernism." Clara Weinreich, Slanted

 

"The book is published in easy-to-understand English, avoids academic aloofness and is not only highly informative but also entertaining." Robert Sernatini, Musenblätter

 

"... a big box of great ideas." Jonas Hartmann, textem

 

"With around 400 illustrations and explanatory texts, plus a wealth of previously unpublished material, this book will become the first standard work on Soviet design." Steffen Kühn, KULTUR-EXTRA

 

«C’est à une véritable découverte à laquelle invite cet ouvrage monumental et inspirant sur un thème méconnu et pourtant porteur.» Philippe-Emmanuel Krautter, Lexnews

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Cover

Varvara Stepanova. Costume sketch of personage Mavrusha for the play Tarelkin’s Death. Meyerhold Theatre, Moscow, 1922 © Bakhrushin State Central Theater Museum collection.

Konstantin Melnikov, V. Kurochnin. Gosplan garage in Moscow (1934–36). Photograph, late 1930s. © Shchusev State Museum of Architecture collection.

Living room area, view on the stairs of «Communa 33», a compact multifunctional flat designed by Studio Bazi, designer Alireza Nemati, 2017 © Photo Polina Poludkina

Konstantin Melnikov. Sketch of the USSR pavilion for the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris, 1925. © Shchusev State Museum of Architecture collection.

Panteleimon Golosov, Alexander Kurovsky. Competition project for the printing plant of Pravda newspaper in Moscow (realized), 1930. © Shchusev State Museum of Architecture collection.

Alexander Vesnin, Victor Vesnin. Competition project for Narkomtiazhprom (People’s Commissariat of Heavy Industry) building in Moscow, Red Square, 1934 © Shchusev State Museum of Architecture collection.

Gevorg Kochar, Mikhael Mazmanyan. Canteen building at the Sanatorium for Writers on Lake Sevan in Armenia (1969). Photo Mikhail Churakov. 1970s–1980s. © Shchusev State Museum of Architecture collection.

Konstantin Melnikov. Project of USSR pavilion for New York 1964 International Exhibition. Variations. © Shchusev State Museum of Architecture collection.

Examples of interior design showcased at the All-Union Competition for the Best Model Furniture for Residential and Public Buildings. © All-Union exhibition catalogue, 1972.

Mikhail Posokhin. USSR pavilion project for the Osaka International Exhibition, 1970. © Shchusev State Museum of Architecture collection.

 

All images printed must come with respective picture credit and may only be published in connection with a book review containing the publishing house, the title of the book and names of editors or authors.

 

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