On May 22, the Bulthaup Design Gallery hosted a discussion titled «Art and Technology in Object Design: Facets of Interaction.» The speakers explored how designers and manufacturers combine aesthetics and practicality, creating objects that reflect modern interior trends, technology, and economic requirements. The event was organized by the Worldwide St. Petersburg Club, the Organizing Committee of the Golden Trezzini Awards, and the Bulthaup Design Gallery.

Natalia Sidorkevich, Chairlady of the Board of the Worldwide St. Petersburg Club; Anna Kislitsyna, Rector of the Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design; Natalia Siverina, Communications Director of the Bulthaup Design Gallery; and Pavel Chernyakov, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Golden Trezzini Awards, addressed the participants and guests of the evening.

Unfortunately, not everyone was able to attend the event due to the lack of available seats. According to Pavel Chernyakov, the great interest in the discussion about object design is likely because, during times of intense turbulence, whether in an airplane flight or geopolitics, people instinctively grab onto solid objects. «And when everything around us has been shaking for too long, we no longer only grab onto objects, but we start to look closely at how comfortable and beautiful they are. And that's when it's time to think about object design!» concludes Pavel Chernyakov.

The discussion was opened by Alexander Kondratyev, CEO of Alexandrovskaya Manufactory, and Kirill Ovchinnikov, an artist. They presented examples of collaboration between a renowned manufactory and a famous artist, resulting in unique tapestries exhibited in the gallery especially for the event's guests.

Georgy Balakhnichev, Deputy General Director of Management and Consulting, and former head of the department of monuments of decorative and applied arts of the KGIOP, gave a brief overview of the history of object design schools from the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, held in London in 1851, to the present day. He concluded that movements such as Bauhaus or the Ulm School of Design have not only become part of history but also have no current institutional analogs.

Professor Andrei Blinov, Head of the Department of Furniture Design at the Stieglitz Academy, reminded the audience that the history of object design should be traced not only from world exhibitions in London and Paris but from ancient Egyptian furniture. Returning to the present day, the professor discussed the training of design students to work at production enterprises and lamented that the training cycle of potential future object designers is criminally short today.

Natalia Dzembak, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Monumental and Decorative Arts of the Stieglitz Academy, and Associate Professor of the Art Textile Department, revealed the role of decorative textiles in creating the image of an interior. She presented works by star representatives of this direction of object design from different countries, as well as the brightest student projects.

Pavel Ulyanov, a lecturer of design at the Higher School of Economics, founder of the Chairmuseum, and chair collector, delivered a lecture titled «Art and Technology: Unity in the Post-Industrial World.» Pavel Ulyanov and his famous chair collection are well known in St. Petersburg and beyond. However, as a lecturer, he is as renowned as he is as a collector. Any attempt at a brief journalistic retelling of Ulyanov's lectures, including his performance at the Bulthaup Design Gallery, would be akin to a third-grader recounting string theory. So let's move on to the next speakers.

The report by Anatoly Bezhko, CEO of Bezhko Company, and his deputy Aslan Ebzeyev was titled «Light. Made in St. Petersburg.» Any modern Russian interior designer can probably agree with the statement: «We say light, we mean Bezhko; we say Bezhko, we mean light!» In our country, success stories of object designers can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and the rise of the Bezhko brand with its insanely simple yet beautifully designed lamps is one of them. Fortunately, the guests were not only able to hear the story of the legendary brand from its managers but also see the lamps themselves, which were installed in the gallery especially for the discussion.

The final speaker, interior designer and founder of the M in Cube design workshop, Svetlana Melnikova, brought the audience down from the heights of high object design to earth. She attempted to answer the question: «Is object design accessible to everyone — an illusion or a business model?» Judging by the applause that followed her last words, we can conclude that the St. Petersburg discussion of object design ended on an optimistic note.

The discussion was moderated by Oleg Dmitriev, director of the CORE.XP branch in St. Petersburg and deputy chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Golden Trezzini Awards, and Alexander Koval, member of the board of the Ridu Designers Union and an object designer.

The organizers sincerely thank the event partners: Bezhko Company, Alexandrovskaya Manufactory, and DZM Design.

Photo by Vladislav Kuznetsov

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