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Ukrainian animist design brand Faina opens Antwerp gallery

We’ve been following the Faina furniture range collection from Yakusha Design for quite some time. During our latest discussion with Victoria Yakusha, architect and founder of the multidisciplinary design studio, we talked about contemporary animism, and how following an animist approach helps Victoria to revive her connection with the living world and Ukrainian traditions. This kind of design attitude—what she calls living minimalism—has been gaining ground. Leaving the Ukrainian borders behind, Faina Gallery is now open in Antwerp.

The showroom itself is housed in a 500-year-old building in Antwerp, and in order to respect the history of the space as much as possible, major structural alterations were avoided.

The floor plan, as well as the grey terrazzo floor and ceiling, were left in their original condition, while the walls were painted in moss and soil-inspired shades. “Nothing is more powerful than the energy of the earth. The feeling of being at one with nature, standing on the bare ground, I gain strength. It was this feeling of infinite tranquility that I wanted to portray in the interior” says Victoria. The interior was then filled with matching colored, handcrafted furniture, including the angular Toptun chair, the Soniah floor lamp and the Plyn sofa, with its curved cushions stacked like stones naturally polished by wild waters.

A stainless steel shelving system runs along the length of one wall, and on it, ceramic ornaments and home fragrances line up, analogous to the rare cabinets waiting to be installed. The storage unit is interrupted by a section of steel-paneled doors leading into the second room of the Faina Gallery. This space has been painted black, a reference to chernozem, a highly fertile soil type found plentifully throughout Ukraine. The furniture on show also has a similarly dark in tone, including the black version of the Ztista table with holes, and the charcoal-grey version of the rounded Domna chair. A circular black tapestry can also be spotted on the wall with the word ‘earth’ inscribed on it, in the symbol-based writing system of the ancient Cucuteni-Trypillia civilization that lived in Ukraine in the fifth millennium BC. “In my opinion, every craft object has a soul—the type of vibrant energy that you can feel when you interact with it—and it’s the power and emotion that another person has put into it. We work with local artisans across Ukraine and each object is handmade in limited editions to preserve their unique spirit,” added Victoria.

Photo: Piet-Albert Goethals

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