Traditional Russian folk art is given a contemporary make-over by St Petersburg-based product designer Yaroslav Misonzhnikov, as his beautifully crafted “Katerina” vanity set combines modern minimal forms with centuries-old traditional craft.
Comprised of a mirror, a comb and a lace fan, the collection was created in late 2015 in collaboration with ‘Snejinka’, a renowned manufacturer of traditional lace in the Vologda region, as part of a unique project in which Russian product designers were paired with Russian manufacturers of traditional folk arts. The aim of this project was to revive or ‘reincarnate’ these traditional Russian folk arts and crafts, by reinterpreting them within a contemporary context.
More of an artistic interpretation of traditional objects than items that are meant to be actually used, the collection is dedicated to the designer's grandmother, Katerina, who he fondly recalls would tell him stories about her own mother making lace in their ‘izba‘ —a traditional Russian timber wooden chalet— which was located in the Vologda countryside.
Misonzhnikov began his design process by learning traditional lace making techniques from the masters in order to inform his design. The resulting lace pattern, based on an existing traditional design, uses thread of different thicknesses to achieve a gradient effect. This intricate and complex geometry of the handmade lace was then paired with the rich tones and grain of a natural timber finish used for all three objects. An inspiring, fresh and modern interpretation of traditional folk art, this beautiful design tribute is a reminder of just how much the exceptional skill and old-world charm of culturally significant handmade craft should be appreciated.