Soviet Design 1920-1980: From Constructivism to Modernism
Kristina Krasnyanskaya, Alexander Semenov
Scheidegger & Spiess, 2020
The Soviet Union left behind a vast design heritage that is largely unknown in the West. Unlike Soviet-era architecture and graphic design, interior design from this period has not been thoroughly investigated. For the first time, this book offers a comprehensive survey of Soviet interior design from constructivism and the revolutionary avant-garde to late modernism.
Based on extensive research and drawing on archives that were until recently inaccessible, Kristina Krasnyanskaya and Alexander Semenov document seven decades of interior design in the Soviet Union. They demonstrate that, while often discredited as monotonous, the work of designers, architects, and manufacturers behind the Iron Curtain in fact comprises a remarkable variety of original styles. The 1920s were marked by bold exploration and experimentation at state-run art and technical school Vkhutemas and by overlapping movements such as constructivism, rationalism, and suprematism. The 1930s brought Soviet art deco and Stalinist Empire style, which produced some of the Soviet Union’s most iconic buildings. In the late 1950s, after Stalin’s death, modernism emerged with functionalist furniture mass-produced to fit small apartments in housing developments. The 1960s marked the Golden Age of Soviet interior design, while most of the visionary work of a new generation of designers in the 1970s remained unrealized.