6 September 2013
by Gian-Luca Amadei
I recently visited Moscow to get a feel of the city’s design scene and discover some of its design hubs. What I found out is that, as in other cities across Europe, Moscow based designers and artists also started to cluster in ex-industrial buildings, which are mostly located on the edge of the city. The ones in Moscow however are in a class of their own, as they feel more like a city’s quarter rather that a factory, as they are so large in scale. One of them is Flacon, which was established in 2009 as a platform for design, media as well as fashion and new crafts. Flacon is a complex of buildings part of a 21,000 square meters former glass factory ‘Khrustalny’ (which means Crystal). Among the design installations at Flacon one of the most prominent is a hip of glass blocks, amassed in one of the courtyards. This is as a testimony of the buildings previous incarnation.
I found a similar setting at the Artplay Design Centre.This is more than one of Moscow’s creative cluster located in a former factory. Walking around Artplay, in fact it is possible to see how crucial aspects of the design and art industry are well covered here, including design education. Some of the largest buildings are used by the British Higher School of Art & Design, others are used for temporary exhibitions. For example, every October Artplay hosts the Moscow Design Week- a key event in the design calendar for Moscow based and international designers at large.