On view at the Design Museum’s new Kensington home from March 15 – 4 June 2017 Imagine Moscow: Architecture, Propaganda, Revolution marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution explores Moscow as it was envisioned by a bold generation of architects in the 1920s and early 1930s.
Featuring rarely seen material, the exhibition outlines an idealistic vision of the Soviet capital that was never realised. Focusing on six unbuilt architectural landmarks located near Moscow’s Red Square, the exhibition explores how these schemes reflected changes in everyday life and society following the October Revolution.
In the search of a new future, architects aimed to reinterpret the old idea of the city through new symbolism, new monuments and new institutions – creating factories, theatres, communal housing and ministries. These dream-like projects suggest an alternative reality for a series of sites around the city, offering a unique insight into the culture of their time.
Each project introduces a theme relevant to life and ideology in the Soviet Union: industrialisation, urban planning, aviation, communication, communal living and recreation. Alongside the six unbuilt architectural case studies, the exhibition features a dedicated room to the geographical and ideological centre of this new Moscow, the Lenin Mausoleum.
The display includes the architectural designs of Aleksey Schusev’s Mausoleum as well as the rarely seen competition entries submitted by both professional designs and the public. Presented through plans, models, reproductions and projections; the six unrealised projects on display are Nikolai Ladovski’s Communal House (1920), EL Lissitzky’s Cloud Iron (1924), Ivan Leonidov’s Lenin Institute (1927), Nikolai Sokolov’s Health Factory (1928).
Three competition entries for the ‘Narkomtiazhprom’ building by the Vesnin brothers, Ivan Leonidov and Konstantin Melnikov (1934-1936), and Boris Iofan’s winning entry for the Palace of the Soviets (1932). The projects are placed in context with objects of art and design by Vladimir Klutsis, Alexander Rodchenko, Valentina Kuliguna, Yakov Chernikov and many others.
The exhibition brings together large-scale reproductions of architectural drawings from the Schusev Museum of Architecture (MUAR) with original drawings and artworks, magazines, news reels and applied art objects.
Imagine Moscow features loans rarely seen in the UK from the Ne Boltai! Collection in Prague, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Alex Lachmann Gallery in Cologne, the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin, the Collections of the British Library and other private collections. Source by Design Museum.
Location: London, UK
Exhibition Curator: Eszter Steierhoffer
Curatorial Assistant: Eleanor Watson; Curatorial Research Assistants: Kristina Ailane, Helen Ilka, Constanza Larach, Anya Smirnova, and Olga Vaigatcheva
Opening: March 15 – 4 June 2017
Photographs: Courtesy of Design Museum
Article by Marco Rinaldi