Archive for January 11th, 2011

11.01.11 – Finland is between two countries, Sweden to the West and Russia to the East. Both of these countries have had, and continue to have, a major influence on Finland’s cultural and political development. Here’s another “3 Pix and a Post” from my friend Bazhena who is originally from St. Petersburg but now lives in Helsinki studying the Finnish language.

Industrial, graphic and interior design, you can face it everywhere in our nowadays life . Of course,  the meaning of the word “design” is known almost to everyone but where does it come from?

It comes from the past participle of Latin dēsignāre  ‘mark out’ but English acquired it largely via French, represented in French on the one hand by dessein, ‘purpose, intention’, and on the other by dessin ‘pattern, drawing’ and its related verb dessiner.

Each country has each own period of the first steps in design. The exhibition “A sign of quality” I attended several days ago was dedicated to design in USSR. The word “design” was a taboo till 1987 but it doesn’t mean that people were not creative those days. But from the beginning of 1918 it was really important for the country, how new creative art views could influence the technology and engineering. Government reorganized old departments into New Art and Industry Departments. Even Institution for Higher education was built for that. All the best designers of USSR graduated from the Higher Technical-Artistic Studios Vkhutemas, an art school in Moscow set up after the Revolution by combining the former School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture with the Stroganov Art School. When it was founded in 1918 it was called Svomas, but it was renamed Vkhutemas in 1920.

That exhibition carries us back to the childhood, makes us feel the same as we used to feel being kids. Unfortunately, you have to stand in a long line leading to the slot machine but after you reached it , you can easily remind yourself how to shoot down the enemy ship just using five attempts and it is free of charge! Excellent interior design sketches of 1958 looks like so real 3D, but the secret of that technique is just using the different types of paper and basic rules of drawing. Also you can admire the first covers of the popular USSR magazines, stunning concept cars, toys that our parents used to put near their pillows and many other amazing things that made me feel so excited!

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11.01.11 – The weather is quite the topic these days. Snow cover in December was approaching record-breaking numbers. This wasn’t so surprising because I’ve been hearing about the possibility of this year’s winter being one of the coldest ever. The forecasters seemed to be “spot on” and all signs were leaning towards a brutal winter.

Over the last couple of days we’ve had a bit of unusually “warm” weather, temperatures around 5°C, which has turned snowfall into rainfall and the city into a giant slushie. My outdoor walking strategy turned from avoiding patches of ice to avoiding “potholes” in the packed snow which were now ankle-deep in water. Ice has also been falling from the buildings at an alarming rate and even took a man’s life!

Today the temperatures have dropped below freezing once again which has added a yet another challenge. Snow covered streets and sidewalks which have been worn smooth by the rain are now freezing over. The other areas which have been cleared of snow now have a thin layer of ice good enough to skate on, which is in fact, what I am trying to avoid.

The good news lately is that it’s going to snow soon which should make it a bit easier to walk around outdoors 🙂 They say the grass is always greener but I guess the snow can also be whiter on the other side.

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