To celebrate the London Design Festival, Gallery Elena Shchukina is delighted to present Born in the USSR, a specifically curated exhibition of contemporary Russian design.

Developed with media partner Wallpaper magazine, the latest work by 14 designers - product, ceramic, graphic and fashion - born before 1991's Perestroika, explores the theme of what it means to be born within one cultural environment, at the moment of interchange, and practicing within an altered geopolitical realm from both an artistic and professional standpoint.

Posing the narrative that design can become homogenous when created for the world arena, curator Suzanne Trocmé asks "Two decades later are we still able to sense a national spirit within the work of Russian contemporary designers or do all designers now aim to produce for a global audience? Is the period in which these designers were born into reflected in their work?"

Gallery Elena Shchukina is committed to exposing quality works from all over the world. At this moment in time the protagonists of Born in the USSR are still relatively young in the world of design yet strike a mature and developed chord on the world stage. "Marketplaces are different, ever changing, but talent always remains talent" says Trocmé.

Alexander Kanygin (Born Leningrad 1983)

Alexander Kanygin graduated from the St Petersburg College of Restoration in 2001 and from the St Petersburg Institute of Architecture and Construction, Faculty of Architecture in 2007. Following a two-year period practicing architecture on a conceptual level Kanygin set up his workshop for woodworking in 2009. Working mainly with wood but incorporating other materials including plastics and metals, as well as the waste products of the workshop, Kanygin experiments with technology and craft with his designs, which are prototyped and batchmanufactured in house.

Alexander Zhukovsky (Born Polonnoe, Ukraine 1982)

Alexander Zhukovsky was born in the small Ukrainian town Polonnoe. After attending elementary and secondary school in the north of Russia in Kogalym, he moved to the city of Khanty- Mansiysk where he studied applied arts and artistic woodcarving. After graduating from the Khanty-Mansiysk College of Art he moved to Yekaterinburg, where he received a master’s degree in industrial design at USAAA (Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts, Yekaterinburg, Russia). A recipient of numerous Russian and international design awards, Zhukovsky founded his own design studio in 2008 working across a wide range of disciplines from lighting, furniture and sanitary ware to medical equipment and cars. In 2012 the studio moved to St Petersburg.

Alina Tukhvatullina (Born Almetevsk, Tatarstan 1988)

Born in Tatarstan, Alina Tukhvatullina came to the United Kingdom in 2003 to study. Interested in art since high school, Tukhvatullina’s first passion was fine art. Following an Interior Design summer course at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan her interests turned to spatial design. The designer relocated to Marangoni London to study for a BA in Interior Design, and then an MA in “Product+Space” to broaden her knowledge. Her Reconciliation tea set selected for Born in the USSR formed part of her latter studies, and which consciously relates to her origin and culture, according to the designer.

Anna Denisenko (Born Krasnoyarsk, Siberia 1989)

Anna Denisenko moved from Krasnoyarsk to St Petersburg at the age of seventeen to study at the St Petersburg State Art and Industry Academy in the Department of Industrial Design. While studying, Denisenko worked as a designer in different disciplines participating in exhibitions and competitions on an international level. In 2013 she began a Masters Degree at Elisava, in Barcelona. In all projects Denisenko tries to “integrate a feeling of natural heritage.” Her home city stands on the great river Yenisei. “Since childhood I enjoyed the beauty and harshness of nature." Her Clay Whistles created for Born in the USSR harken to Russian legend. Slavic night watchmen blew into acorns to alert of an approaching enemy. The later clay variety were designed to protect hearth and home and are deemed to possess a magical quality.

Anna Kulachek (Born Donetsk, Ukraine 1987)

Anna Kulachek moved from the Ukraine to Moscow in 2007 to study for three years at the Lycée of Graphic Design where she simultaneously worked at DesignDepot as a graphic designer before leaving for Italy in 2012 to work at the Benetton communications centre for research Fabrica. In 2013 Kulachek won the competition to design a corporate identity for the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow and began to teach graphic design at the National Research University - Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Kulachek also holds the position of Art Director at the Strelka Institute for Media. Kulachek has created a specific contemporary graphic identity for Born in the USSR.

Gosha Rubchinskiy (Born Moscow 1985)

Fashion designer, filmmaker and photographer Gosha Rubchinskiy emerged from post-Soviet Russia actively inspired by the fall of the Iron Curtain and Muscovite youth culture. He started Aglec, his own street wear label in 2008, a personal take on the fetishistic uniformity of Moscow street gangs. His sportswear today has an international following from his skateboard attire to his latest AW menswear collection. From 2012 Comme des Garçons has supported exhibitions of Rubchinskiy’s photography alongside fashion collections which the firm produced and distributed. His body of work is a documentary informed by his urban surroundings and close friends. Representing a new Russia and inspired by the romance of youth, Rubchinskiy records life in both a brutal and celebratory light, hard and soft, guarded and vulnerable. His creativity has given the post-Soviet generation a powerful voice.

Katerina Kopytina (Born Moscow 1985)

Katerina Kopytina is a product designer based in Moscow. Having graduated with distinction at Moscow University of Arts and Humanities in 2008 and IED Milano in 2009 Kopytina took an internship at the Matteo Ragni Design Studio where she developed projects for Campari, Lavazza and W-eye. A much published de-signer and a participant of 100%Tobeus and IZBA projects (Bulthaup), Kopytina successfully launched the production of her Light Bean lamp and continues to practice as a freelance designer with local and international brands.

Lera Moiseeva (Born Tarusa, Central Russia 1986)

Lera Moiseeva first studied in Moscow where she read sociology before moving to Spain where she obtained a second degree in product design from IED Madrid. Growing up in a family of space engineers, and fascinated by images of the cosmos, her design aesthetic is greatly influenced by the images of the space industry. Working as a designer with various materials such as porcelain, glass and wood Moiseeva is also a photographer and film-maker. Now based in New York, Lera collaborates with companies such as Nooka, Casamania, Berto and is working on projects with Luca Nichetto.

Maxim Maximov (Born Oryol, Russia 1988)

Maxim Maximov studied industrial design at the Architectural University of Oryol city, Russia in 2005- 2011. Living in St Petersburg, Maximov came to the public attention as a designer in 2011 when he won the competition Prem Furniture, judged by Ross Lovegrove, Vadim Kibardin and Oskar Zieta. In the same year Maximov participated in the SaloneSatellite in Moscow with his project One Line. Subsequently published in Wallpaper magazine and Interni, his character and sense of humour is evident in his work. Nevertheless his minimal aesthetic migrates throughout his work. Maximov uses tubular metal incorporating other materials at times. Maximov’s signature is evident in his fluid designs, his ethos being one for improving himself, he says. Red Corner is a modern take on the most important and honoured place prevalent in traditional Russian homes. It is the corner where important family treasures are kept, a place for icons and prayer. Red is the colour associated with beauty in Russian culture, the etymology of the word for red being the same as for beauty.

Meta Works (Aleksey Galkin, Born Leningrad 1987, Egor Kraft, Born Leningrad 1986, Olga Marchenko, Born Leningrad 1990, Karina Eibatova, Born Leningrad 1988)

Founded in St Petersburg in 2006 Meta Works (formerly Dopludo Collective) is a small group of creators Egor Kraft, Lesha Galkin, Karina Eybatova and Olga Marchenko who live and work between Vienna and St Petersburg.Together they work on multidisciplinary projects that smooth the borders between illustration, object design, installation, interior design and public projects worldwide. Vool is a complete work of art, hand-made from product to packaging, demonstrating the ethos of the team. Vool is created from manually selected pine, and its delicate manufacturing process is under control at each step. Eco-friendly and ergonomic the product merges humanity with technology when it meets a laptop or smart phone.

Mikhail Belyaev (Born Siberia 1984)

Mikhail Belyaev is a multidisciplinary designer based in St Petersburg. An art school graduate (2001), Belyaev subsequently studied industrial design at the Ural State Architectural Academy and media design at the St Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts. Belyaev co-founded a furniture workshop in his final year 2009. In 2012 through intergovernmental organisation CIBART (Centre for Indian Bamboo Resource and Technology) the designer was invited to India to work on new social design projects for India and Africa. As art director and designer Belyaev has cooperated with Eqloo Artedore and other international brands. He has also worked with the Chelovek Theatre of Plastic Drama.

Tatiana Kostanian (Born Moscow 1984)

Tatiana Kostanian is a Russian-American designer who lived most of her life in New York City. After graduating with honours at Parsons School of Design, she specialised in high end interiors for residential and retail projects with clients including Gucci and Tom Ford. Her experience ranges from architecture and interiors to bespoke product and furniture design. She has completed projects in Japan, Russia and Spain. In 2012 she received her Masters in Furniture Design at Central St Martins and currently resides in London. According to Kostanian “There is more than one way to address the changes in values of today’s luxury market: the study and understanding of local culture is my personal method.”

Yaroslav Misonzhnikov (Born Leningrad 1988)

St Petersburg-based product designer Yaroslav Misonzhnikov is visible on the international design circuit having shown at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, IMM Cologne and Salone del Mobile. Having studied for his MA at the St Petersburg State University 2009- 2011 following a BA at the University in decorative and applied arts, Misonzhnikov has enjoyed workshops with Werner Aisslinger and worked an internship with Kiki Van Eijk and Joost Van Bleiswijk. Despite the designer’s industrial style, much of his work references aspects of everyday life. Imenno-Lavka acts as a marketing tool and bicycle-operated store.

Yury Veredyuk (Born Yaremche, Ukraine 1985)

Yuri Veredyuk is an industrial designer “continuing the northern tradition of the Ural design school.” It was in Western Siberia in Khanty-Mansiysk he developed skills in painting, sculptural arts and woodcarving with an emphasis on the traditions of the far north peoples. In addition the designer worked with the Museum of Nature and Man on expeditions. Veredyuk studied at the Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts in Yekaterinburg and majored in industrial design and under the tutorship of N.P. Garin who propagated the model of an ecologically clean way of living. Inspired by the works of F.L.Rait who developed the ideas of organic architecture, and the ideas of social design by V. Papanek, Veredyuk combines romantic ideas of unity with nature and technical functionalism.