The fact that Gleb Glushchenko—an architect and a representative of Rationalism—was still a VKhUTEMAS student while working on the set for the film “How you live” (1927) was no coincidence. The school’s mission encouraged students to start working in industry while still continuing their studies, and to a large extent, this practice was dictated by the needs of the new state.
In the early years that followed the October Revolution, the Global Proletarian Revolution and establishment of the Communist society were perceived by many Soviet people as something attainable during their lifetime. In 1920, Vladimir Lenin declared that 15-year-old people of that time would live to see Communism. However, in order to be able to bring the future closer, the new generation had to be brought up in special living conditions. As opposed to the “chaos” of heterogeneous lifestyles inherent to Capitalism, the Socialist way of life had to be rationally organized by modern artists and architects.
“How you live” aimed to demonstrate what a perfect studio apartment for a worker could look like. One of the main tasks was to use the limited living space as efficiently as possible. This would be achieved by thoughtfully designing architectural niches, crawl spaces, mobile partition walls, and, most importantly, special furniture that would be produced simultaneously with the construction of the building. The pieces of furniture had to be simplified and cleared of all decorative elements and unnecessary details in order to clear up the space and avoid dust settling. A lot of attention was paid to hygiene: for better ventilation of the cabinets, both the doors and side panels could open. The whole living space had to look carefully organized and calculated. “The eye of a person of a sober, materialistic age does not need adornments. It is looking for the rational aesthetics of a home in skillfully found relations and proportions,” wrote prominent Rationalist architect Vitaly Lavrov in his article devoted to Glushchenko’s set.
Maria Timina, 2023
photographs; interiors; desks; lamps; studios
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