Yaroslav Misonzhnikov is one of the most promising young designer: he’s Russian, from Saint Petersburg, with open eyes to see the World. We have talked about his creations during our design tour around Saint Petersburg; this time he dedicates us a bit of time during the Salone del Mobile in Milan for a short talk about design and his personal approach on this field.
YOU’RE ONLY 29, BUT YOU’VE ALREADY EXHIBITED YOUR WORKS IN SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL FAIRS: HOW DO YOUR PRODUCTS COME ABOUT? WHERE DOES YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM?
I am still 28 actually! I really love to observe people and how they get involved in the creative process even though they do not notice it. As the famous Italian designer Vico Magistretti once said
“Design is also look everyday object with a curious eye.”
For instance, once I found a chair just outside of my flat, on which the previous owner put a leather insert to fasten it because it was broken. It was so beautiful and harmonic! It would be not surprising if a designer would use that system for his or her furniture collection! You can never know what there is behind this or that object and what inspire the author. Exactly to catch the creative process I have an Instagram account. [photo @misonzhnikov account]
I also really like the Russian Ethnographic Museum of Saint Petersburg, sometimes I do some sketch there. For modern design, it is a treasure trove, with its huge collection of manufacts made with different materials and techniques!
For me, Russian culture is very interesting, except such stuff as matrioskas, that they’ve been actually imported during XIX century from Japan to Russia.
“I am more interested in ethnographic aspect: it is very important to create modern object inspired to history and traditions.”
I also like creations by other designers, of course, but it would be really difficult to choose only one of them! For a lot of time I was in love with the work of Jaime Hayon, a Spanish designer: I especially liked his project drafts and his approach to the work. Now I am really interested in Dutch design. It is a unique phenomenon. A lot of people think that the cradle of design is still Italy, but The Netherlands gained a lot of attention in last decades. Thanks to the Eindhoven Design Academy, a modern design culture has developed around, and the little town has become the “City” -with capital letter- of design.
[KATERINA, a vanity set, photo © Mitya Ganopolsky &Vasily Bulanov]
AMONG YOUR WORKS THERE ARE ALSO SEVERAL PROJECTS IN COLLABORATION WITH OTHER DESIGNERS: WHAT DO YOU APPRECIATE MORE IN THE EXCHANGE WITH OTHER DESIGNERS?
IZBA and Naturalist are two projects where I collaborate with Tatiana Kudryavtseva as curator. In Naturalist Project the designers involved together with me were Lesha Galkin, Sveta Gerassimova, Ania Druzhinina (Fёdor Toy), Alexander Kanygin, Tanya Klimenko, Katerina Kopytina, Anastasiya Koshcheeva, Luch Design (Nikita Cherevkov & Elvira Lomovskaya), Olesya Ananyeva, Ekaterina Semenova, Maxim Scherbakov, Katia Tolstykh, Ekaterina Vagurina.
We chose a topic that could be interesting for everyone, and based on that we created the objects of this exhibition. This is exactly the uniqueness of the project: every product was created by a different designer, so there were only individual projects, and this was the first exhibition of Russian designers with this structure. Obviously, we asked each other for advice, we developed an active teamwork, sharing sketches, exchanging ideas and experiences, and defining the purpose of the project in general, and that was the part I liked more.
[Exhibition”Naturalist” at Greenhouse, Stockholm Fair 2016]
AMONG YOUR WORKS THERE ARE ALSO SEVERAL ILLUSTRATIONS. DO YOU THINK THAT YOU CAN EXPRESS YOURSELF BETTER IN GRAPHIC OR IN PRODUCTS? WHY?
At the moment I almost do not work on illustration anymore. I do it only when I am doing sketches of my products. Several designers stopped to draw with paper and pencil, they work only with 3D programs on computer, but I prefer to continue to use the “old school” method. Drawing with a pencil or with a marker gives you plenty of freedom and it could happen that a random line becomes the one on which is based all the project. I think that drawing on the computer kinda deprives this possibility. For this reason, for me the creative process is made by this precise sequence of steps:
– detailed draw;
– draw on the computer;
– creation of a prototype;
– creation of a project on the computer;
– creation of a 3D model (if necessary).
YOU ARE ALSO ONE OF THE MAIN EDITOR OF THE BLOG TUTDESIGN.RU: WHAT MADE YOU JOIN THE PROJECT? WHAT IS, ACCORDING TO YOU, THE ROLE OF WRITING IN THE DESIGN WORLD?
I am part of the editorial team of Tutdesign.ru since the very beginning, it’s a project by one of my best friends. When I had more free time, I could write three or four articles per week, but now I rarely do it. At the beginning the project was a way to get the foreign design known by Russian public, but now Tutdesign is more oriented on talking about Russian, CIS countries and Baltic Republics design. Writing articles about design helped me to understand what was trendy in the rest of the world, and also “to train myself”. Thanks to this website, I did a lot of exercise that was helpful when I had to write texts and concepts about my projects.
LAST SUMMER WE TALKED ABOUT SAINT PETERSBURG AND WE ALSO VISITED YOUR CONCEPT STORE IMMENO-LAVKA: HOW WAS THIS PROJECT BORN AND WHICH RESULTS DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE?
The concept store Immeno-Lavka in the Taiga space exists since long. At the beginning we did not plan to open “a concept store”, we just really liked that empty space underneath our studio, but we couldn’t “close” that area, so we decided to turn it into a shop and a part into a studio. At that time I was already working on products, so the direction to take was immediately clear: at Immeno-Lavka you can find home-decor objects, jewels, books and magazines from over 70 different Russian authors! Many products are sold exclusively by us in Saint Petersburg.
“The project has an education purpose, it wants to make Russian design more accessible and recognizable.”
YOU STARTED TO STUDY IN RUSSIA, BUT YOU ALSO TOOK PART IN SEVERAL WORKSHOPS AROUND THE WORLD. WHAT CAN WE FIND IN YOUR WAY OF WORKING FROM YOUR COUNTRY AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABROAD?
I graduated in Russia, while I did some workshops in different design firms: they are different ways to learn and so for me it is difficult to compare them. Russian education has pros & cons, so, according to my opinion, it’s a good thing having the chance to work and study both in Russia and abroad.
After university, I understood that my academic studies were not enough, but at the same time I was not yet ready to leave my country permanently, so I took part in a trainee program in one of the most famous design firm in Holland, the one of Kiki Van Eijk and Joost Van Bleiswijk. There I had the chance to work on the creation of objects that are sold by the most famous brand of the world, Moooi for instance. The next year I was at LAGO, the Italian company, for a one-month trainee program, where I developed a new collection of furniture with other young designers from seven different countries.
“In this way I learned to communicate with the client.”
LET’S TALK ABOUT SALONE DEL MOBILE IN MILAN: YOU TOOK PART INTO SALONE SATELLITE, AREN’T YOU?
This year I introduced my table Zevaka in Milan during the Design Week. I already brought it to Salone Satellite in 2013, and in that case it was chosen among other 20.000 products for the anniversary exhibition “Salone Satellite – 20 years of new creativity” by the curator Beppe Finessi. I was among design legends, such as Marc Newson, Nendo and many others.
The multi functional table Zavaka has been developed for modern schools, giving special importance to comfort and health. The table has been made with a comfortable latex space to sleep, a ceramic part for chewing gum, a sup holder, a cable box and a rucksack holder.
THE LAUNDRY ROOM
Where would you like to move?
Somewhere sunnier than Saint Petersburg.
If you weren’t a designer, by now you’d be…
A chess player.
Your favorite museum.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I learn about the world.
Three words to describe your character.
Positive, diplomatic, stubborn.
You cannot say no to… ?
To follow Yaroslav Misonzhnikov‘s projects and keep you updated on his works, have a look to his Instagram profile.
[UGOL, a desk lamp, photo © Ksenya Malgina]