Minimalism gives rise to cold, impersonal associations for many, but there is another side to this style, described by Ukrainian designer Victoria Yakusha as “live.” It’s enough to look at her furniture to understand what she means by it.
The last time we wrote about FAINA‘s furniture was when Victoria Yakusha, the designer of the brand, released a collection made with traditional Ukrainian artisan technology. The designer has been experimenting with finding the direction that makes the concept of design truly valuable to her over the past fifteen years, this is how she coined the term live minimalism. She describes her philosophy as follows:
“Live minimalism for me is a combination of two important ingredients: a living spirit of the interior or design piece, a story behind it, an emotional connection to it’s owner, on the one side, and clean, minimalistic approach, which has no place for useless details on the other.”
Yakusha says this aesthetic is rooted in Ukrainian folk spirit: “Ukrainians are very emotional, we tend to have some declarativeness, but at the same time simplicity and laconism, too. We are not as minimalistic as the Scandinavians and not so emotional as the Italians. I would say that we are in the middle.“
The hypothesis was once again underpinned by her design expedition, in the course of which Victoria travelled the Ukrainian countryside to explore the country’s design traditions. This is how she found the already mentioned artisan techniques, too, which also appear in her latest collection. She works a lot with clay, for example, which has a healing power according to ancient masters. Yakusha is particularly drawn to legends she came across during her expedition. “They say wool must be processed in mountain rivers and while weaving carpets, masters always sing ancient songs, do not go to work when they are unhappy, because it is believed to be transmitted into the rugs.“
In addition to marking a new trend in minimalism, the organic shapes of Faina’s furniture and accessories complemented with anthropomorph allusions also evoke an ancient belief, the return of which was also recently envisioned by Li Edelkoort: according to animism, not only living creatures have souls, but all inanimate objects, too. Looking at Yakusha’s pieces, one might even learn how this perspective will shape the design processes of the upcoming years. To give you an example: the armchair above, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week 2020, was named the Domna, which is an ancient Ukrainian word for stove. The armchair boasting feminine lines manifests the warmth of the home and Yakusha sees it rather as an amulet than a piece of furniture, bringing protective energies into our homes.
Source of photos and quotes: press release