The history of the Furniture Design Department at Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry is inseparably linked with the history of our country. The department has always focused on training masters demanded by society in a particular period of history, and has raised several generations of high quality arts and crafts artists, furniture designers, cabinetmakers, restorers and broad specialists. Special joiner’s and furniture maker’s workshops were organized in the Imperial Specialized School of Industrial Art to gain knowledge and practice in Russian artistic heritage in cabinetmaking. Participation of students’ works in international exhibitions (Paris 1900, Turin 1911) contributed to the international recognition of Stroganov School and spreading of the “Russian style” around the world.
After the revolution Stroganov Imperial School was reorganized into Vkhutemas (Higher Art and Technical Studios), where an active search was led for finding new forms of revolutionary art in compliance with the time. In particular, new forms of furniture were designed for the new style of life of a renewed person. Such famous artists as Tatlin, Rodchenko, Lissitzky were the Heads of the Furniture Department of Vkhutemas in different periods of time. Their creative pursuits determined the development of Russian and world culture for many years to come.
After reorganizing the school back into the Stroganov School in 1945, the artists and designers in the field of the interior joinery were trained in the Wood Processing Department. Specialists of this profile were in high demand in the post-war years of the economy recovery. At that time Mikhail Markov was the Head of the Department. Being a wonderful artist, a graduate of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture he taught all major subjects – drawing, painting and composition in the early years of the school. Ivan Fedorov served as a Head master of the studios and later as a Head of the Department. He was an architect by training, an organizer and educator by nature. Later the class of composition was supervised by different architects and artists such as V. Kiselev, A. Gilter, V. Turchaninov, N. Luppov, C. Borisov, G.Kryukov, V. Kalmyikov and later – by B. Neshumov, Y. Sluchevsky, T. Astrov, K. Afanasiev, V. Golubev, A. Ovchinnikov.
B.Sokolov was the first Head of the Artistic Woodworking Department. One of the most active organizers of the Stroganov school, architect Alexander Karatkevich, was appointed to serve as the Head of Wood and Metal Processing Faculty. Valery Prelov was the administrator of the department, and later his Head. Many wonderful teachers and educators worked at the Furniture Design Department. Teachers that gave students foundation skills and mastery, knowledge of realistic art and architecture, traditions of Russian arts and crafts, interior and furniture design. These were teachers of high moral principles, devoted to their work: N. Sobolev, I. Danilova, N. Bykov, G. Zakharov, G. Korzhev, V. Komardenkov, N. Denisovsky, A. Baryshnikov, N. Seleznov, V. Kiselev, K. Afanasiev, S. Pichugin, P. Karpov, A. Soloviev, S. Parmenov, M. Sczerbakov, M. Orlov, A. Lebedev, V. Kuzmin, F. Kiesel, S. Shcherbov, L. Polyakov, etc. They were the founders of teaching methods at the renewed Stroganov School. They laid the foundation for the form of artistic and technical training on humanitarian basis, forming broad artists and designers.
The first graduation in 1950 (a shorter period – five years, not eight, as in the following years), consisting of only four students, clearly demonstrated the advantages of the curriculum and methodology. It included, in particular, a very relevant for those years theme of designing furniture for home: “Office furniture” (graduate student B. Neshumov), “Dining Room Furniture” (T. Astrov), “Living Room Furniture “(P. Kuznetsov). It is impossible not to note the depth of theme development: the project of the main components included in the set is brought to the stage of technical drawing, enough to make its realisation possible. The creation of products in the industrial workshops of the School was preceded by a stage of creating full-size scale models with subsequent corrections of form and structure. Later, such creation would become the norm. The formation of the curriculum and methods of its achievement in the first years of the school formation as well as the separation of woodworking departments were held in high spiritual and creative enthusiasm among students and teachers. The air of enthusiasm, characteristic of post-war Moscow, could not but contribute to the search of basic principles of training of artists for a reviving economy. These principles formed the basis of subsequent editions of the program, in the compiling of which young teachers participated, adding to the content their understanding of problems, their own experience and knowledge.
In the middle of the last century, after Nikita Khrushchev came to power, a decree was issued “on excesses in architecture”. The aesthetic canons of the past were discarded. The design of gables, portals, balustrades and balusters, interior elements and furniture decorated with carvings, paintings and other types of décor characteristic of that time was cancelled at the Artistic Woodworking Department. Intensive construction of residential buildings with small apartments began. The concept of “artistic construction” gradually entered the mode of life. This was facilitated by processes that occurred in construction and architecture. The emerging 50s trend of the industry towards the industrialization of production had an even greater impact. In the furniture industry, this had resulted in the consolidation of enterprises and their specialization in the production of a certain range of products – for example, only chairs, or soft furniture. Almost simultaneously, the process of technological specialization occurred: the overall range of products had been linked not as much by common functions as by common manufacturing techniques. Enterprises producing bent and glued-laminated timber furniture, metal furniture, panelled furniture, etc. were created. In future, the industrialization of furniture led to the creation of large factories specializing in the manufacturing of furniture parts and factories for the assembly of furniture. Naturally, to meet the needs of industry and construction, qualified personnel – artists and furniture designers, were needed. Therefore the quality of their training was a very important question, according to the new requirements. Because of this the department of woodworking consequentially updated the course’s syllabus composition, introducing its own tasks, which were associated with specific construction projects as well as made by order furniture enterprises and design organizations. The search for furniture forms for various functionalities for mass production began. Teachers of the department became involved in work of designing and implementing production of modular furniture adapted to new conditions of life. The leading role in the development of standardized modular furniture elements belonged to Y. Sluchevskiy, Professor of the Artistic Furniture Design Department, who in 1956 presented to the public a project of a studio environment with sectional furniture, and later was the author of a large number of sets of case furniture (such as “Jubilee”, “relief”, etc.).
The department, which received a new name Furniture design, was headed by V. Golubev -architect and practitioner, in 1963. The 5- year period of higher education in full-time department was introduced in 1965 (the transition to 6 – year education took place only in 1989 with the aim of better training). The department opened an evening department in 1966 with a training period of 6 years. This was due to the life situation. Specialists working in the furniture industry and design organizations now could receive higher artistic education without interrupting the production. For example, master of the Production Training Department such as A. Valeev, J. Meshkovskii, K. Sazonov, V. Shchelkunov, I. Chursin, who graduated the Masters Training Department at their time, studied in this way.
The Masters Training Department was opened in 1945 as the country was in need of highly qualified personnel to perform artistic finishing works in construction and reconstruction of destroyed during the Great Patriotic War monuments of art. A three- year period of study was established, but in the 60s it was reduced to two years. During this period of time students received fundamental technological knowledge, mastered their skills. The final stage of training was to perform qualification works in material: making copies of articles of furniture, furniture restorations of different eras and styles, decorative art from wood. A rank was assigned after defending a thesis. The Furniture Restoration Department was established based on the Masters Training Department in 2003.
In 1986 the Artistic Furniture Design Department was led by her graduate Professor A. Shevchenko – Honoured Artist of the RSFSR, Honorary furniture-maker of Russia, who was the owner of more than 80 copyright certificates for industrial designs and inventions. A. Shevchenko is mentioned in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia as one of the best furniture makers of the country. In 1994 he was awarded with Honorary designer of Russian. A. Shevchenko was the author of more than a hundred projects, most of which were realized, introduced into mass production, exhibited at numerous trade shows in Russia and abroad. Many patterns and furniture sets designed by A. Shevchenko were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals, diplomas and marked awards, published in the national and foreign press.
В частности, им была разработана мебель для общественной части Храма Христа Спасителя и мебель для Московского Дома Музыки.Состав педагогов и мастеров пополнялся в основном за счет наиболее талантливых и способных к педагогической работе выпускников кафедры и ОПМ. В их числе — Ю. В. Случевский, А. М. Шевченко, О. К. Рыжиков, Л. М. Золотухин, Ю. Е. Милюков, А. X. Валеев, В. В. Ратковский, А. А. Ломов, Н. К. Ноздрина, К. Н. Чебурашкин и др. Основы курса технологии мебели были заложены замечательным педагогом Д. М. Орловым и далее развиты Ю. Д. Орловой и Т. А. Матвеевой. Основы конструирования мебели сформированы В. Т. Андриевским, далее совершенствовались О. К. Рыжиковым, В. А. Корневым и В. В. Ратковским. Начало обмеров исторической мебели было заложено Д. Н. Ермолаевым.
In particular, he designed furniture for the public part of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the furniture for the Moscow House of Music. The stuff of teachers and masters was replenished mainly by graduates of the department and the Masters Training Department, who were the most gifted and talented in teaching. Among them were Y. Sluchevsky, A. Shevchenko, O. Ryzhikov, L. Zolotukhin, U. Milukov, A. Valeev, V. Ratkovsky, A. Lomov, N. Nozdrina, K. Cheburashkin and others. The basics of furniture technology course were laid by remarkable teacher D. Orlov and further developed by Y. Orlova and T. Matveeva. The basics of furniture design were formed by V. Andrievsky and further improved by O. Ryzhikov, V. Kornev, V. Ratkovsky. The start of measurements of historical furniture was established by D. Ermolaev.
The structure of the department included workshops in which students were taught the basics of carpentry skills, acquire the skills of wood carving, inlays, finishing, as well as produced pieces of furniture and decorative arts based on their projects. V. Kolosov, an experienced production worker, was in charge of workshops. Training sessions were conducted by masters of production teaching with high qualifications and with practice and experience (previous students of the department): A. Valeev, O. Glazyrin, A. Mashakin, etc.
Wonderful artists, professors, candidates and Doctors of science, winners of prestigious national and international competitions, holders of honorary titles as well as honours and medals, academics and State Prize Laureates, teachers and theorists graduated The Furniture Department. Among them are the well-known furniture designers: A. Smirnov, V. Sluchevsky, O. Rizhikov, E. Bocharov, E. Hahalin, A. Novikov, A. Gurevich, E. Fomin, B. Prokopenko, S. Vostokov, B. Vasiliev (who were leading experts at All-Union Design and Technological Institute of Furniture), B. Neshumov, A. Chekalin, A. Shevchenko, L. Zolotuhin, Y. Milyukov, M. Maystrovskaya, etc. Professor and watercolor master A. Kvasov studied at the Artistic Woodworking Department of Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry; subsequently he became the rector of this university. Brilliant graphic artists M. Verkholantsev, G. Pravotorov, S. Kharlamov, academics I. Galitsin, G.Zaharov , I.Obrosov studied here as well.
In the 90s of the 20th century with the dissolution of the Soviet Union collapsed the planned economy of the country, furniture factory giants stopped, institutions of technical aesthetics lost their role. A large number of competitive foreign furniture appeared in the domestic market, consumers’ tastes began to change. First time in many years the faculty of the Artistic Furniture Design Department had to bring up an issue – for whom to train specialists? Before the department graduates went to work on furniture factories and design institutes, now the image of a potential customer became unclear. On the one hand, there was a strong demand for specialists in the field of individual furniture design and interior elements; on the other hand, the furniture industry hadn’t stopped to exist yet, although the nature and production volume changed significantly.
For some time the department continued to train specialists as before but at the beginning of 21st century it became quite obvious that a serious adjustment of curricula was requires according to new political and economic realities. Main requirements were formulated on account of the apparent inability to predict the nature of the potential customer. Modern graduates of the Artistic Furniture Design Department had to meet these requirements regardless of the future place of work. According to these requirements a young professional furniture designer should possess:
– knowledge of basic furniture and architectural composition, as well as the ability to apply it in practice
– furniture design skills (both mass and individual production) in accordance with the aesthetic and functional requirements of the customer
– skills of designing public and residential interiors of various functional purposes and styles
– skills of detailed design development of basic types of furniture made of different materials
– knowledge of modern technologies and materials used for furniture production
– ability to orient oneself freely in assortment and ability to apply modern furniture hardware
– ability to make technological maps and calculate the costs of furniture production
– ability to orient oneself freely in the history of world art, history of furniture, styles and interior design
– skills in manual feedback of graphic sketches (technical drawing, project graphics)
– skills in computer drawing using modern graphics programs
– skills in 3-dimensional computer simulation
– skills in sculptural modelling of carved decorations and furniture front hardware
– necessary knowledge of ergonomics in the field of furniture and objective environment in residential interior design
– knowledge of carpentry basics and possession of skills of manufacturing simplest joinery constructions
– skills in making scale models and prototypes of the furniture and interior elements in different scales and materials+
According to these principles, all curricula of the Artistic Furniture Design Department were subject to serious analysis and correction. Vast experience gained by staff of the department for many decades of work was considered with the creation of new programs.
The Department was renamed to Furniture Design in 2010, and the first admission of students for the baccalaureate (4- year study followed by a 2- year master degree) took place in 2011, after the transition of the university to the Bologna system of education. Curricula and programs were again a major adjustment.
Five new courses were introduced at the department: the Ergonomics in Furniture course, Additional Furniture Drawing course, Fundamentals of Computer Simulation course, Computer-aided Furniture Design course, Additional Sculpture course. Programmes on the subject Furniture Design were significantly adjusted. There was an attempt to reform the Furniture Technologies and Science of Materials course and Fundamentals of Production Skills course. Traditional tasks for summer practice were reconsidered, computer classroom was equipped.
The teaching stuff of the department is a close-knit team, where senior teachers and professors generously pass invaluable knowledge gained from their teachers and their own creative experience to a new generation of teachers and students: a continuous process of preservation and renewal of traditions and further development of the Stroganov School. The department staff includes six professors, two associate professors, three Honorary furniture designers of Russia, three Honoured Artists of the RSFSR, one Honoured Worker of Education, one Doctor of Arts and one Candidate of Technical Sciences. Almost all teachers are members of various creative unions in Moscow and Russia (the Union of Artists, the Union of Designers, the Union of Architects). Today the Department consists of 22 teachers and production training masters.
The Artistic Furniture Design Department is actively participating in exhibitions and in many international trade shows and competitions. Students and graduates of the department have an opportunity to present their works in the field of furniture design to general public. For example, the Artistic Furniture Design Department was awarded with the diploma of All-Russian Furniture Show laureate for the exhibition of students’ works at the Furniture of Russia exhibition, which was held in Moscow in 2004. The students of the department V. Nogaev, M. Fufaeva, E. Dushkevich became National Award laureates in the field of industrial furniture design “Russian Cabriole 2006″ in various categories.
Students V. Nogaev, M. Fufaeva , S. Kudakov became laureates in young designers nomination in various categories at the 14th international specialized exhibition “Euroexpofurniture 2006”. Students A. Ganin, M. Fufaeva, D. Belyaeva became laureates in young furniture designers contest MK “Shatura” in 2004. Thirteen students of the department became laureates in «ARFEX» contest in various categories at the international specialized exhibition of furniture and interior art “Artfurniture 2004”. A collection of students’ works “12 chairs” was awarded with a honorary diploma at 8th International Festival of Contemporary Art “Buyan Island 2004” held in Sochi. A. Ratnikov, K. Kvitko and other students of the department became laureates in the National Award in the field of industrial furniture design “Russian Cabriole 2009” in various categories. S. Kudakov’s thesis (the teachers were N. Volkov and K. Cheburashkin) became the laureate in the ISALONI competition in Moscow and was exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2011.
Traditional meetings with the graduates and familiarity with their creative activities and achievements help the department to determine the effectiveness of its methods, techniques and forms of teaching the profession of a broad designer.