The Great Utopia of Russian Avantgarde
Dizaino Studija Baklazanas (Lithuania, Vilnius) has created the colourful silk scarf The Great Utopia dedicated to the celebration of the 95th anniversary of the Shukhov tower.
It shows the delicate beauty and mathematical poetry of the world famous Shukhov radio tower by the architect and pioneering engineer Vladimir Shukhov, considered an icon of early 20th century modernist design. The 160 meters tall Shukhov Tower has become an iconic part of the Moscow skyline and is an architectural masterpiece. Completed in 1922, this hyperboloid lattice structure was built from a diagonal grid of straight steel beams yet seems to pulsate as it rises skyward, each of its six sections growing smaller in the form of an upside-down spyglass. The tower was one of the first buildings to be constructed on the basis of a mathematical model and is often referred to as Russia’s Eiffel Tower.
This colourful silk scarf celebrates the utopianism of the avantgarde projects, the desire to place art at the service of greater social objectives and to create the new world order. The Great Utopia forever.
Besides The Shukhov radio tower the scarf features two notable architectural projects: the Flying City by Georgy Krutikov (1928) and the Palace of Soviets by Boris Iofan (1931). Having a lot in common on the surface – both never released and both full of utopian possibilities, but what makes them binary opposites is the notion that they cannot coexist.
More information on the project:
Baklazanas is a nomadic design studio from Vilnius (Lithuania) focusing on visual branding and communication design for cultural, educational and governmental institutions. “For us, design is a continuous communication. Our art direction aims to engage our clients in the process that not only communicates what they want but clarifies what they are.” One of their latest project ‘Keep My Words Forever’ has won iF Design Award and European Design Award (Silver), their ‘Save Shukhov Tower!’ poster campaign has won a Red Dot Design Award.
Although Baklazanas is a graphic design studio in some of their previous works they have already turned to textiles and silk scarf design.
Find below some of those designs.
Maneki Blues Scarf
This scarf is a part of a very limited edition silk scarves. The main source of inspiration for this design were famous Japanese maneki-neko cats which are often believed to bring good luck. The scarf contains different kinds of cats with different attributes so it is supposed to bring a whole bunch of luck to the owner.
According to the traditional interpretation the raised left paw attracts new friends and connections while the right attracts money. Both raised paws attract all good luck at once and protect home and business. Some cats are pictured with all the four paws raised and that promises to double the dose of good luck.
There are five cats on the scarf as it is considered a lucky and sacred number, because there are five most desired goals for each person (in Chinese tradition): longevity, wealth, health, virtue and natural death.
One of the cats is holding a Daruma doll, which is also a talisman of good luck and fulfilling desires. A cat with a fish (carp) and bamboo leaves stands for health and vitality. A cat with a paper origami crane means long life and wisdom. A bell hanging on one of the cats’ neck repels evil spirits, attracts luck, it is also a symbol of purity of thought and openness to changes and challenges. Another important symbol is an eggplant, which in Japan is a traditional symbol of determination to achieve one’s goals and dedication to them.
Even if you do not believe in this symbolism about good luck, still you can enjoy wearing this beautiful accessory.
Maneki Blues scarf was auctioned during Dutch Design Week 2015 in Eindhoven as a part of Срфкшен Design Auction.
ME-SHU silk scarves
ME-SHU was inspired by the cooperation between the two most famous Russian architects of the XX century – Konstantin Melnikov and Vladimir Shukhov.
From the joint authorship of these two Russia’s most famous architects of the XX century appeared this new architectural avant-garde formula: an expressive form, an innovative functional layout and a perfect structure. Their architectural collaboration strongly shaped the face of Moscow of 1920’s.
The four of their most innovative projects – garage buildings – were transferred into symbolic dynamic compositions and patterns. A limited editions of silk scarves conveying these patterns was produced.
Each scarf refers to one of the four famous garage buildings:
Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage (K. Melnikov, V. Shukhov, 1926-1927)
Novo-Ryazanskaya Street Garage (“Horseshoe garage”) (K. Melnikov and V. Shukhov, 1926-1929)
Intourist Garage (K. Melnikov with V. Kurochkin, 1933-1936)
Gosplan Garage (K. Melnikov with V. Kurochkin, 1934-1936)
HSE silk scarf
We were also asked to create a limited edition of promotional silk scarves for the Higher School of Economics. Consistently ranked as one of Russia’s top universities, the Higher School of Economics is a leader in Russian education and one of the preeminent economics and social sciences universities in eastern Europe and Eurasia. Having rapidly grown into a well-renowned research university over two decades, HSE sets itself apart with its international presence and cooperation.
The design refers to the dynamic, contemporary and international spirit of the university emphasizing its Russian origin and adherence to traditions at the same time.