Design Within Reach
St. Petersburg Design Week brings high-end design to the city’s shops, museums and galleries.
Published: May 22, 2013 (Issue # 1760)
A screening of films by iconic American designers Charles and Ray Eames will be held at Bulthaup Design Gallery.
Some of the world’s best designers and architects, as well as lesser-known yet promising talents, are in town this week as part of the third St. Petersburg Design Week, which began yesterday and continues through May 29. Bulthaup Design Gallery, the DLT department store, Peter and Paul Fortress and a number of design showrooms around town are taking part in hosting a full program of events.
The main venue for the event is Water Universe a museum complex on Shpalernaya Ulitsa, where the exhibition project “Design Week Expo 2013” will be held in the museum’s Universe of Water gallery. The display area will be divided into five sections: interiors, architecture, furniture, smart houses and landscape design. Following today’s presentation of the program for professionals the exhibition will be open to the public May 23 and 24 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
This year’s theme — Design is Free — refers to the opportunity that the organizers have given to young designers: Participation is free. Their work was, however, handpicked by a special jury.
“Encouraged by the success of the first two Design Week events, which were rather experimental, we have decided to hold this event every year,” said Ruslan Chernobaev, president of St. Petersburg Design Week.
As part of the week’s events, global design trends such as green architecture, eco design and digital design will be showcased and discussed. Digital design, for example, is the topic of a speech to be given by Karim Rashid, an American industrial designer. One of the main guests of Design Week, and a first-time visitor to St. Petersburg, his lecture “Analog vs. Digital” will address if one can be a good designer without having a background in classical art.
Among the other special guests of Design Week are well-known American interior designer Charlotte Moss; Italian painter, sculptor and industrial designer Prospero Rasulo; and Milan-based architect, scientific curator, and interior and industrial designer Marco Piva. The close tie with Italy, especially Milan, is no coincidence, as St. Petersburg Design Week was modeled after Milan Design Week.
Unlike Milan, however, St. Petersburg is not the country’s main design center. The majority of Russia’s design events, including Moscow Design Week in the fall, are held in the capital.
“We are not competing with Moscow, but creating an alternative venue to help develop the market,” said Chernobaev.
In addition to the major “Design Week Expo 2013” exhibition, smaller displays will be held for the first time in the Engineer House at Peter and Paul Fortress, beginning on May 23. The exhibition, “Listening to Architecture/Creating Spaces,” will cover the topic of green architecture and will last until June 1, while “Spring: Excellence, Talent, Inspiration,” part of Russia-Netherlands year, will remain open until June 12.
Some of the most exciting events in this year’s lineup include an evening of films made by American designers Charles and Ray Eames at Bulthaup Gallery, the opening of the new Fisheye Sholk Collaboration Space, and debates organized by the French Institute in St. Petersburg, titled “Multipolar Agglomeration: The Expansion of the City Identity.”
“One of the main purpose of Design Week is to help Russian design progress, find new motivations and an impetus for its development,” explained Chernobaev. “New partnerships are formed during every Design Week.”
Among the other aims of the organizers is to show that St. Petersburg is able to host high profile, international events, and that Russia is home to a thriving design industry.
“The timing of the week was chosen very specifically. On one hand, St. Petersburg Design Week takes place after all the other large exhibitions happening around the world. On the other hand, it is part of the celebrations connected to City Day,” said Chernobaev.
As an event for both specialists and amateurs alike, all of the Design Week events are open to the public; special invitations are required only to attend the lectures and round tables.
“Audiences in St. Petersburg are more than ready to see design of international stature,” said Chernobaev.
The full schedule of St. Petersburg Design Week events can be found at www.spbdesignweek.ru