New York's Kiosk Gallery has a show on of products from Soviet state-stores. Stark, poorly made, and mass-produced, there's something romantic about these unlovable lumps.
Once Russia turned capitalist in the early 1990s, it was only a matter of time before “the weeds” got cleared out. Presently, most Soviet products are extinct, or at least endangered; perhaps they still could be found on flea markets, or far in the provinces. We picked them at random during our early visits to Russia, driven, in part, by collectors’ instinct, in part – by a desire to amuse our American design colleagues.
Today, these products may still amuse someone, but their unpretentious simplicity can also teach us a few design lessons. Eventually, they will pass into the realm of historical artifacts. In November 2008, part of our collection has been presented in a small exhibition at KIOSK Gallery in New York City. A few highlights are shown below.
Julldozer created an amazingly clever digital sundial (“Cadran Solaire Numérique”) that precomputes the angle of the sun throughout the day and uses those computations to make hundreds of precise holes calibrated to cast a shadow displaying the present time.
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