‘We want life in Russia’s estates to continue!’ Thus begins the project description of the Estate Restart project on the crowd-funding platform, Planeta. HSE University instructor Alexander Alekseev and students of the HSE University School of Art and Design have raised money to restore the rotunda of the Bykova Estate.
Located in Bykovo, a village outside of Moscow, the Vorontsov-Dashkov Estate was designed by architect Vasily Bazhenov in the 18th century. In recent years, the palace and church have fallen into disrepair.
A team from the School of Art and Design is helping volunteers renovate the estate. In order to do this, the Design students designed a variety of tote bags featuring graphics in support of their cause. Visitors to the campaign’s Planeta page could either make a donation or support the project by purchasing a tote. The student team also took charge of the fundraising campaign – from its concept and design to its promotion.
Over the course of the campaign, 107 totes were purchased. Instead of the target 100,000 rubles, the team raised almost 185,000 rubles. The money will go towards inspecting the supporting structures of the rotunda, conducting a soil analysis, and professionally photographing the premises.
Art and Design School instructor Alexander Lartsev designed 4 of the tote bag graphics. ‘Historic estates are unique places where you can go back in time and experience what we have in common with people who lived in the past,’ he says.
An active team of volunteers offered to help raise funds for the renovations, and we came up with the idea for our Estate_live project. The participants went to the estate and really enjoyed it. The idea took final shape in a bigger, long-term project for renovating historical estates, Estate_restart, and the Bykovo Estate became the project’s first property.
What's next? We have to print and distribute the tote bags. It will be interesting to find out what fundraising method worked best. So far, we know that most people came to the project page directly on planeta.ru, and half of the funds raised were simply voluntary donations.
The fact that we managed to collect 184% of our target amount means that we will continue the project. We will continue with another estate and with a new team of students, or maybe with Bykovo and with our already established group — we’ll have a better sense in September about what we’ll do next. It’s great that we can help revive these historical estates and help people experience sites of cultural significance.