Thursday, 26 May 2011

Moscow's own Ideal Home show

The time has come around again for ARCHMoscow, Russia's answer to the English Ideal Home show, which runs until the 29th May. It brings together a trade show full of gold taps, shiny materials and novelty gadgets with displays by contemporary architects and designers; all spread across several floors of the Central House of Artists and is a great way to catch up on contemporary design trends here, both of the bling variety and of avant-garde tendencies.

The thing I still can't get  used to is that many emerging designers seem to be making work that refers back very deliberately to the Soviet past - a little ironic, a little nostalgic, but also steeped in historical references rather than modernist ones. Post-modernism may have gone the way of all things elsewhere, but here it seems a very alive force, with many young architects insisting on directly reflecting both their pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary heritage.

But whilst I don't understand this work (or even like it much) I think it is too easily dismissed or ignored by the rest of Europe. These are potentially truly new and inventive developments - circling around a kind of radical historicism -  which is remaining invisible to international cultural debate, precisely because  'looking backwards' is currently completely out-of-fashion elsewhere.

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