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‘We Support Young Brands and Make Them Visible’

On March 7, the HSE Art Gallery hosted the opening of ‘Design Futures: Synesthesia’, an exhibition featuring works by students of product and jewellery design at the HSE Art and Design School. The event runs from March 9–May 7.

The exhibition marked the launch of Design Futures, a new programme to support students of the school who are working in the field of subject and jewellery design. Under the project, student works serve as the basis for creating a brand and a line of products. The Art and Design School provides promotional support and assistance implementing the first products and prototypes.

Maria Stepanova

Maria Stepanova, curator of the ‘Design Futures: Synesthesia’ exhibition and head of Product and Industrial design at the Art and Design School, noted that this is a debut exhibition for the field and the HSE Art Gallery. ‘This is a major and important step for us. We are announcing a new programme to support students—Design Futures—and a general field—Creative Futures. By doing so, we are bringing together object design, jewellery design, fashion, and even games. We support young brands and make them visible,’ she noted.

Daria Kuznetsova

Daria Kuznetsova, Director of the HSE Art Gallery and curator of the ‘Design Futures: Synesthesia’ exhibition, spoke in more detail about the contents of the exhibition itself. ‘The hall is divided into three sections. The first features a levitating air tent containing décor items—cute everyday things that make our home cosier like plates, cups, candles, and vases. The second hall presents larger, more serious objects: armchairs, tables, ottomans, bedside tables, etc. This hall showcases the achievements of our students, very cool items that could be launched in the product design market right now. In the third hall, you can see jewellery masterpieces lit by student-designed lamps,’ she explains.

Creators: Anya Ovchinnikova and Sofia Kravchenko

As part of the event, Anya Ovchinnikova displayed chairs for the Woody company and mushroom shelves. ‘These are all completely different projects. They are not related to each other, and each of them is an individual piece,’ she said.

Vladislav Khegai, first-year student of the Master’s in Product and Industrial Design at HSE University, presented a chess set made of cement-gypsum mortar, a metal FLOW table, a leaf-shaped armchair, and a beige armchair in a maximalist style shaped like a hyperbola. ‘For the chess set, I first made a 3D mould in a computer program and printed it out. I then added the finishing touches, and created models into which I poured silicone then cement-gypsum mortar. It sounds quick and easy, but in practice it was a very laborious and time-consuming process,’ explains Vladislav Khegai.

Chess set
Creator: Valeria Orlova

Valeria Orlova, second-year student of the Master’s in Product and Industrial Design, also presented a chess set. ‘My work is made from felt. The pieces are unique as you can fold them up and fit them inside the board itself. You can easily take it with you in a suitcase or bag. They don’t become crumpled because felt is very durable and firm—it doesn’t rip or lose its colour,’ she explains.

The HSE News Service also spoke to visitors of the exhibition about their thoughts and impressions of the objects on display.

Anna Nazarikova and Sofia Chabykina, first-year students of the Bachelor’s in Management in Creative Industries at HSE University, visited the exhibition. ‘I absolutely love the atmosphere here,’ said Anna. ‘I have been following all the exhibitions held at the HSE Art Gallery for a long time, as I worked here for a while as a media manager and the things that go on here always impress me.’ Sofia added that they were invited to the exhibition by their lecturer Daria Kuznetsova. ‘We should always keep up to date with events,’ said Sofia. ‘I am also interested in design—all of this is very interesting to me. We are currently also working on an exhibition of our graduation project, and we need to know how such exhibitions are created and learn more about this field. It was very interesting here today. They are still only students, but they make super professional and unique things.’

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