sashaxsasha is a Russian furniture design brand created by the successful architecture, interior design and exhibit design studio - Masterskaya Be. With a focus on striking, monolithic pieces (often in black) the studio draws inspiration from unexpected places. For example, their SSB01B bench is inspired by the make-shift seating builders tend to create on site which will be explained in more depth in the interview. Please continue reading for questions on form over function, the Russian collectible market and finding inspiration in challenging expectations.
You both come from a background in architecture, how did the transition over to furniture occur?
We still continue to practice architecture and interior design, but the main focus of our bureau is now on exhibit design. When we got into this field, we started designing pieces of furniture for exhibitions and museums - displays, stands, benches. That seems to be how we gradually came to produce our first design objects.
SSB01B in the sashaxsasha workshop
How do you compare the contemporary design scene in Russia to the rest of the world?
If we talk about modern collectible design, it just started to emerge in Russia. The first galleries specializing in this area are beginning to appear and the first exhibitions are taking place. Of course, there are already outstanding talented designers in Russia, but as long as there is no culture of collecting such objects, there is no demand from the audience. Therefore, it is difficult to compare the scene in Russia with European countries which are prospering in this field.
The latest version of the SS01B bench uses a very unexpected material, what was the idea behind this and where did the inspiration come from?
In the last version of the bench we made especially for Movimento, we used poplar burl veneer. The idea of the first version of the bench was that a randomly found object on a construction site, which builders made for their own use without thinking about its beauty, we covered it in black, thereby highlighting its shape, fixing it, making it monolithic. The next step we wanted to dress this casual form in the kind of finish that is traditionally used for the production of expensive and complex pieces of furniture. Thus it turns out that we have fixed a randomly created form, but executed it in an unexpected material.
A make-shift bench created on a building site which later
gave inspiration to the SSB01B Bench
What core beliefs about design do you hold? Do you try to instill them into your work?
Within our architectural practice, we always try to remind each other that we shouldn't do design for design's sake. Also, it is very important to us that any solutions are justified and technological, we try to preserve what is possible to preserve. In exhibit design, we always remember that the effect of the artwork should be more important than the effect of the scenography. There are exceptions when, for example, the exhibition is archival, the material is rather boring, and we manage to draw the viewer's attention to the exhibit with the help of design.
SSB01W is the progression of the SSB01B bench
in Poplar Burl Veneer
Is there an area of design which you would like to explore which you have not yet had the chance?
We have a master's degree in architecture. It allows us to do object design, but to be honest, it would be very interesting to get a more focused knowledge of industrial design. Also, it would be interesting to work on lighting design, unfortunately we haven't had that experience yet.
Could you highlight some other products or designers within Movimento which really excite you?
Of the Movimento Club members, we've been following Objects With Narratives for a long time, ever since we exhibited together at Collectible 2020 in Brussels and noticed their chair. Also, we love David Derksen's objects - very beautiful shelving and tables, a perfect combination of concise shapes and handmade details.
One Curve Chair by Objects with Narratives Column Shelving by David Derksen
Find out more about sashaxsasha and see their products at movimento.club