Milan 2019 – Is Kiev the new Eindhoven? “We would like to believe it!” Says multi-awarded Ukrainian architect Sergey Makhno to Archipanic. His architecture studio presented its first booth at Salone del Mobile. This year Ukraine shone in Milan: Victoriya Yakusha unveiled new designs at StudioPepe’s installation while a team of emerging talents presented their works at Superstudio.
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“In Ukraine we didn’t have great design at all. But recently there’s a lot going on. The brand-new energetic and creative movement is about emotions reconnecting with traditions and nature.” Adds Makhno, founder of Sergey Makhno Architects.
“We combine Nature with heritage and crafts to give shape to products with an earthy feel,” adds Sergey Makhno. One example? The Makivka lamps “seem to grow out from the ceiling. They represent the blossom of Ukrainian soil.” The poppy head-shaped ceramic shade is handcrafted by Ukrainian master ceramists which create a subtly rough feel. Other lamps are inspired by volcanoes, trees trunks, glaciers, mountain peaks and dark clouds.
“My first Milan Design Week was 10 years ago. I remember the bus to Italy and an overnight stay on its floor. I couldn’t realize how it was possible — I was overloaded with a great amount of amazing design. Since then, I have been visiting this exhibition every year.” The Kiev-based studio has completed over 600 projects from Canada to Germany and Azerbaijan and won of numerous awards including the Red Dot.
Design brand FAINA by Victoriya Yakusha has exhibited 3 naive design objects with archetypical symbols, usage of ancient craft techniques and deep history in its essence. The pieces were presented at the installation Les Arcanistes – The Future is Un / Written, curated Milan-based Studiopepe. The BANDURA vases reinterpret 500-years old folk musical instruments, MOTANKA decor refers to our ancestors’ sacred talismans while the cave-like KOROTUN coffee table are carved in stone.
“All Ukrainian culture is imbued with riddles – we still read our past and get more and more answers.” says Victoriya Yakusha to Archipanic. The new designs “reflect the whole life force of energy that has been encapsulated over the Ukrainian land for centuries – as I feel it, in a modern interpretation. Globalism, individualism and minimalism are trends of the present and near future. However, the series pursuits a deeper respect for timeless objects”.
“Ukraine was designless, the new generation of creatives approaches to design with a virgin and enthusiastic eye. They are all free from global hypes and deeply committed to stand out.” Says to Archipanic Olga Bogdanova, founder of Prostir 86, a creative platform promoting Ukrainian product design worldwide.
At Superstudio the MODERN_ISM exhibition showcased the work of 6 young talents who “recall the history of the country’s modernism in order to feel its simplicity and energy, and to find innovative solutions to contemporary issues such as climate change, and the need to rekindle to our roots.”
TASHA ORO’s founder Natasha Yegorova upcycles post-industrial trash to create jewelry, interior decoration and art pieces in search of cultural codes of modernity while exploring Ukraine’s subconsciousness. Evhen Puklich presents furniture made from round aluminum pipes. “Every item we use should be utile. And modernism provides ample opportunities for experimentation.” Says the designer.
Traditional crafts meet the spirit of contemporary creatives in the collection of ceramics by Kyiv based artist Masha Reva for the brand Nadiia which aims to “unlock the spiritual, artistic and tactile potential of physical objects we encounter in our everyday life.”