Russian object design faces a lot of difficulties starting with the production launch and up to certification and promotion.
It turns out we can!
Talented Russian object designers have come into the spotlight lately: Dmitry Loginov with his lamps and ceramic tiles, Kirill Ovchinnikov with his unique wall paper and home textile, Maxim Kasymov who started the production of furniture, and Natasha Shevchenko, a young designer from Novosibirsk, who has created a capsule collection – Flying Fish – and some Italian facilities started to manufacture it. And it is far from being a complete list!
The exhibition of construction and decoration materials, Batimat Russia, which took place not long ago, a whole pavilion hosted the interiors of famous Russian designers. One could see a brightly decorated boutique-hotel by Elena Teplitskaya (she focuses on coloristic decisions), and designer Maria Romanova’s art space named Lacemaker’s dream, and the Introvert’s sitting-room by Anton and Marina Fruktovs, and the Circus fantasy for a nursery room by Natalia Guseva.
The peculiarity of the exhibition was that a great number of people visited the stands of object designers.
Natalia Shevchenko: how a flying fish got into the bathroom
…At Natasha Shevchenko’s mount, one could touch just produced designer’s ceramics keeping the warmth of human hands.
Natasha has created a unique print, «flying fish», and decorated vases, ceramic boards, wall lightings and wash sinks with it.
Natasha’s collection is monochromic, in two colors – black and white. The author’s idea is very simple – a clear silhouette of a flying fish against either water or sky background. And it is marvelous!
- …I felt a kind of creative fatigue and decided to look for inspiration at “the end of land”, on one of the lost in the ocean islands, - the author said at one of her master-classes. – There I could watch whales on the horizon line and other animals. And there I thought of a new image – of a flying fish. On my coming back home I started making sketches.
Wishes are said to attract opportunities. During her business-trip in Italy, Natasha unexpectedly met an old acquaintance of hers, the owner of a small ceramic production facility. It was a sign of fate. He caught at the interesting idea. And now we see a whole collection by the designer (all rights reserved), its production has been started on industrial scale.
Natasha came to her master-class in a one-piecer with the original print of a flying fish. It turned out that she is going to create the “Flying fish” wall paper and even textile.
Kirill Ovchinnikov: alchemistry of red
Another Russian object designer who attracts a lot of interest is Kirill Ovchinnikov. At the construction and architecture exhibition of 2019 he presented almost everything related to his own brand. Kirill is a commercial artist, working in a rare for graphic arts technique of aquarelle. His water color is dense, reminds oil painting.
Kirill is famous for wall paper and artistic neckcloths and kerchiefs, now he has switched over to larger forms: not only textiles but also furniture, home accessories, porcelain and jewelry performed in his own style.
- I wanted to create a recognizable brand like Pucci, Missoni or Etro, - Kirill says.
In fact, his objects cannot be mixed up with anything: dominating red in his artworks resembles the traditions of Palekh and Gorodets painting. The Lemurs and Alchemistry wall paper is the finest brush work.
It’s amazing that speaking within the business program of the exhibition Kirill chose the topic of brand creation with minimal starting capital. And he did create his own brand. His uniquely designed kerchiefs in silk print technique are manufactured at one of the factories in Milan. Limited production of furniture and wall paper has been started.
Dima Loginov: truth is born in doubt
Object designer Dima Loginov has already been called a “classic”. Specialists think him to create world level design.
During the author’s meeting with his colleagues, designers, within the Batimat program, Dima modestly remarked that he always doubts about himself. And presently, he hesitates whether his latest collection was successful and if he has chosen the right direction to develop..
Actually, manufacturers are absolutely sure that his standpoint as far as demanded design is concerned is right: Dmitry is extremely popular.
Journalists call Dmitry a designer of “shockingly beautiful things”. He designed things for the world-wide known brands VitrA, Microsoft, Elle Decoration, Studio Italia Design. Being the award winner of lots of international prizes, only in 2012 he won two most prestigious ones in the sphere of design - iF Product Design Award и Red Dot Product Design Award for the collection of ceramic tile for VitrA.
- The main thing I’m anxious about is what emotions are caused by my design, with the form and functionality to follow, Dmitry Loginov speaks.
Maxim Kasymov: a good idea needs resources and like-minders
Maxim Kasymov is one more successful designer. He designs and produces objects of his own brand, but he once he complained of difficulties that take away time from creative work.
– When you are constantly busy with administrative problems, looking for money, overcoming some legislation and regulation barriers, too little time remains for creative work, Maxim remarks.
Maxim Kasymov’s studio both designs and develops interiors and creates uniquely designed furniture. They have their own production facility, and this gives an opportunity to implement the most interesting and daring ideas. Maxim has created several independent product lines including storage systems, kitchens, bedrooms, dressers, lightings, mirrors and accessories.
Egor Litvinov: no problems with talent – there are ones with certification
Meanwhile, it is rather difficult for a Russian object designer to fight his way to the home market to say nothing of the international one.
Not so long ago a notable round table discussion took place at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It was dedicated to the promotion of one’s own brand to the market and copyright protection in the sphere of object design.
It is well known that before a product is exported it must be duly certified. The certificate includes, among other, safety requirements to the product itself and the materials it is made of. And it turned out that there are no organisations in Russia to certify a created industrial sample!
Egor Litvinov, Head of International Certification Department at “EuroExpertStandart”, admitted that presently there is no accreditation laboratory in Russia, so that it could issue European certificates. The reason is that Europe is very cautious about the idea of such laboratory creation in Russia. Only Slovakia adopts the results of testing performed in Russian test centers. So, those who want to get certification should do it abroad!
Another problem is that state subsidies do not cover this certification. Neither is subsidized exhibition activity in the sphere of object design. Imagine, our industrial designers decided to take part in a large foreign exhibition, for example French Maison&Object or Italian ISalini. «We wish you success, - they are said, - but you will pay everything yourself».
Are the «Made in Russia» products demanded abroad? Yes, they are, Alexei Sibilev, Head of the Belsi company producing furniture and toys and exporting their products, is sure. Italian manufacturers wonder, how the products of such high quality are manufactured for such little money.
– Recently, Simone Michelli, a famous Italian object designer, offered us cooperation, Alexei Sibilev continues. – But the problem is that our standards are not harmonized with European ones, and the Certificate of safety and quality management is compulsory for the products to cross the borders of EU. We often have to use foreign raw materials only for the reason of their being certified according to European standards. Though it is much more beneficial to use local raw materials as they are cheaper, and sometimes of better quality.
Besides, there are significant gaps in the Russian law of copyright.
Valeria Varnavskaya: one may be admitted to the “Made in Moscow” mount and promoted via Internet
Nevertheless the situation does not seem hopeless. Measures of supporting talented Russian authors and manufacturers are being developed. Valeria Varnavskaya, leading specialist of the Moscow export center, told “Construction.RU” about some of them.
A designer who wants to promote his own brand may be offered the following measures of support: promotion via “Created in Moscow” Export products catalogue. Commercial accounts may receive support via alibaba.com website, and get consulting and training services at the Moscow school of exporter. One may also claim for participation in the “Made in Moscow” exhibition mount which will be exhibited at the Maison&Object show (exhibits transportation and participation are indemnified).
Of course, it is not much, but these are first steps on the way of conquering the demanding market of object design.