From Russia with Style: 
The 10 Best Contemporary Designers

Photo of Sarah Lumley
24 October 2016

These ten contemporary Russian designers are a prime selection of rising stars and established names in international design. Their works showcase an innovative approach to both new and traditional design technologies and processes. With an elegant and often minimalist use of materials, they are in the business of invigorating a new, contemporary Russian style.

Curly My Light | © Dima Loginoff

Dima Loginoff

Moscow-based designer Dima Loginoff is heralded as the “rising star of product design.” A graduate from the International Design School in Moscow and the British School RHODEC, Loginoff’s bold and exciting designs are collected and shown internationally. His latest design Fifth Avenue Sofa (for ARTEX) was inspired by the layout of Lower Manhattan and won him the Design and Design International Award in Paris, France (2013). Working as a design consultant for multiple International companies including VitrA, Elle Decoration, Studio Italia Design and Axo Light, Loginoff covers furniture, product, and interior design in his practice. Concept is clearly an important aspect of his design process: in addition to his commercial design projects, Loginoff has created many award-winning conceptual design works.

Fifth Avenue Sofa | © Dima Loginoff

Vadim Kibardin: Kibardindesign

Vadim Kibardin founded Kibardin Design in 2005. A Russian-born and raised designer, he now lives and works in Prague where Kibardindesign is based. The product and industrial design studio creates and sells work across Russia, the USA and Europe, working on projects that are inspired by both art concepts and design strategies. In addition to participating in a number of international design exhibitions, Kibardin was included in a list of 40 designers who will “change the world” by Wallpaper magazine. One of his studio’s most recent products includes the commercially successful and minimalistic White & White Clock, a modern 3D interpretation of a traditional digital clock.

© Kirbandindesign

Sergei Tchoban & Sergey Kuznetsov : Speech

SPEECH, founded in 2006 and now one of the leading architectural bureaus is Russia was the fruit of a long-term collaboration between Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov. Speech specialise in designing buildings, urban planning and interior design decisions. Their success comes not only from combining the talent and experience of the two founders but adapting the bureau’s working knowledge of modern western materials and building technologies to the specific needs of each project, taking into account Russian environmental conditions. Tchoban and Kuznetsov’s design for the Russian Pavilion in the XIII Architecture Biennale in Venice (2012) based on the theme ‘common ground’ incorporated traditional architectural design with interactive technologies. The pavilion itself was entirely covered with ornamental QR-codes, reflected in the mirror floors. The design aimed to convey the idea that “nowadays not only the Internet and new information technologies are a connecting people ‘common ground’, but classical forms of architecture as well.”

Russian Pavilion | © Speech: Sergei Tchoban & Sergey Kuznetsov

Alexey Chugunnikov

Alexey Chugunnikov has been a member of Russian Designers Union since 2000; a frequent exhibitor, he was awarded the International Red Dot Award (2009) for his design Little Helper, combining a spool of thread with a magnifying glass. However, it is his design for Rollerphone (2009) that has drawn attention to Chugunnikov. Rollerphone is a hybrid phone consisting of a wrist band and mini projector. Its most notable feature is the collapsible and deployable (like a tape-measure), flexible and transparent touch screen interface. The device not only makes calls and sends messages but offers an extensive media experience with video, music, online-chat and e-reader options.

Rollerphone | © Alexey Cugunnikov

Tembolat Gugkaev

Born in North Ossetia-Alania, industrial designer Tembolat Gugkaev kicked off his career in the Russian jewellery industry. He currently lives and works in St. Petersburg, Russia. Tembolat’s works are distinguished by their unique, quirky style, for which he is quickly garnering fans and acclaim in many countries across Europe, America and Asia. Most of his works currently exist only in conceptual form; however, several of his more popular works are now going into production. His broad and ever expanding design interests include street furniture, accessories and house-wares – in designs such as Wha Cabinet, Tembolat reinterprets everyday furniture items, giving them a new functionality. As a designer, Tembolat has a unique and unusual way of looking at things. This inventive and experimental approach gives a fresh element to each of his designs.

Wha Cabinet | © Tembolat Gugkaev

Maximovich Design

Maximovich Design was created by the Interior, lighting and furniture designer Maxim Maximov. He states that his main aim is to continually improve, both in his personal and professional life. In his design work he aims to do everything to push himself beyond the limits of visible features, making a conscious effort to make every new design better than the last. His efforts have been rewarded in International competitions such as Design and Design Awards (France 2012 and 2011) and the Permfurniture (Russia 2011). With the backing of strong concepts behind him, his designs stand out not only as innovative, but thoughtful too. Armchair Quick was created for people who live busy lives and are used to acting quickly – the chair combines soft cushioning with a strong supporting frame. W&M (wood and metal) is about material friendships in design; a lamp, for example, requires the presence of both materials in order to work.

© Maximovich Design

Woodi Furniture

Woodi furniture is inspired by the Scandinavian modernist style and the idea that design “is meant for living not for looking at it.” As Scandinavian design is one of the most longstanding and popular design styles, Woodi have followed this aesthetic in their own designs since their conception, creating functional, attractive, elegant and simple furniture from natural materials. Every piece of Woodi furniture such as the Woo Family drawers collection has its own character and personality. In this way the brand both follows and challenges the traditional elements of Scandinavian design in their search for new aesthetic and functional qualities. Woodi furniture is made in Moscow in limited numbers at a private factory. Each piece is crafted by experienced furniture makers, in collaboration with young artists, designers and architects.

© Woodi Furniture

Julia & Alisa Ruban: RUBAN

After several years working as stylists for international fashion editorials including Grazia and Instyle, sisters Julia and Alisa Ruban expanded their business to create their own fashion label, RUBAN, in 2010. Their first collection aimed to redefine women’s casual, everyday ‘Moscow’ style, an ongoing interest for the pair. Distinguished by their practical, clean-cut designs, the duo prefers to make sophisticated use of a rich yet restrained colour palette. Their mix-and-match collections are made mostly from natural materials; leather, cashmere, cotton and silk, and have been well received in the fashion market. RUBAN clearly draw inspiration from their broad experience in the international fashion industry, resulting in a selection of coherent, practical and stylish collections.

© Ruban

Mikhail Belyaev

Young, multidisciplinary designer Mikhail Belyaev is based in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2009, during his last year of university at the Ural State Architectural Academy, he founded his own furniture workshop with a partner – though he still creates designs under his own name, past projects have included designs for international brands such as iSaloni for whom he created the Medusa Chair (2012). In 2012, his two-legged bench design for slopes Atis won him the first prize in a Russian design competition judged by internationally renowned designers Ross Lovegrove and Vadim Kibardin. Belyaev has shown at prestigious international exhibitions and fairs such as 100% Design London, iSaloni WorldWide, St.Petersburg Design Week, Moscow Design Week, and BSA Space Gallery in Boston.

Medusa Bedside Lamp | © Mikhail Belyaev

Peter Kostelov

Peter Kostelov has been a self-employed architect since 1995. Previous to this, he worked as an art director on TV and cinema, having graduated in 1992 from AGTXI (Almaty State Arts and Theater Institute,Theater and Applied Arts Faculty). Kostelov’s architectural designs such as Russian Wood Patchwork House (‘Dacha’ in Russian) combine artistic sensibility with a clear understanding of functionality and a profound consideration for environmental conditions. The riverside summerhouse built near the Volga River in Tverskaya, Russia, is covered by a patchwork surface divided into rectangles and clad in an assortment of wooden slats painted in different colours. The original source of inspiration for this building goes back to the Soviet era, when the private house construction industry had weakened and deteriorated. At the time, anyone who managed to build so called ‘dachas’ would use any and all available materials, resulting in houses that looked like patched blankets.

Volga House | © Peter Kostelov

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