New Holland Island is St Petersburg's new cultural hub and open-air plot for pop-up innovations. Rising to the challenge, we installed star photographer Koto Bolofo in a shipping container-turned-temporary studio this summer, while we were putting together our Reigning in Russia issue, and invited the city's brightest and best to strike beautiful poses.
Maxim Maximov, product designer
Despite being only 24, Maxim Maximov is already a prolific design talent in his adopted hometown of St Petersburg. The product designer, who has a flair for quirky lighting solutions, runs his own studio, Maximovich Design, located in an old castle tower.
Marina Gisich, gallery owner
Marina Gisich is one of St Petersburg’s pioneering art collectors and dealers. The former Olympic gymnast set up her gallery well ahead of the curve, before Russian art had made any inroads into the West and Dasha Zhukova was still in pigtails. Still operating from her HQ on St Petersburg’s Fontanka Embankment, she's also branched out into interior design.
Vadim Varvarin, president, Erarta Fund
Erarta Fund president Vadim Varvarin heads a large-scale art scheme aiming to introduce Russia’s homegrown artists to a wider public. The organisation collects, exhibits and publicizes the country’s contemporary art, as well as encourages collaborations between artists. The largest non-governmental contemporary art museum in Russia, the Erarta Museum is based in St Petersburg where it holds temporary shows as well as its permanent collection. Three gallery outposts in London, New York and Zurich and the Erarta Workshop consultancy complete the impressive Erarta family of art projects.
Yulia Chaplygina, fashion buyer, DayNight Group
Fashion authority and all-round spokesperson for all things stylish, Yulia Chaplygina is also a buyer for the DayNight Group, which recently launched a concept store. The boutique features a tantalising range of hard-to-get avant-garde labels, from AF Vandevorst to Barbara Bui and Haider Ackermann.
Sergei Fursov and Mikhail Koretz, barbershop owners
Sergei Forsoy and Mikhail Koretz are responsible for some of the finer grooming of the young and fashionable in St Petersburg. The two lynchpin barbers at the Man is God barbershop, they represent a growing trend in Russia for good old-fashioned barbering, in all-masculine environments. At Man is God, beards are trimmed, hair is styled with edge, and talk is loose.
Marina Albi, restaurateur
In a country that is still tiptoeing into the wholesome, organic way of life, Marina Albi has taken the lead by launching a very rare concept in Café Botanika, one of the first Russian vegetarian restaurants. The menu comprises locally sourced, seasonal fare along with a huge range of teas and various super juices with names like ‘Horsepower’. The American-born Albi also teaches philology at the State University of St Petersburg and runs her own yoga class to boot.
Igor Vdovin, musician
Igor Vdovin might not yet be known internationally, but is a hit within Russia. Vdovin, who used to compose mostly electronic music, has recently launched a piano album, 24, and has composed the soundtrack for Russian movies such as The Sword Bearer and Belyaev.
Roxane Chatounovski, creative director, New Holland
New Holland’s creative director Roxane Chatounovski has had a busy year. Liaising closely with Dasha Zhukova to lead the six-strong team at New Holland Island, she just saw the end of a second summer of fun and informative events at what is set to be St Petersburg’s fastest-growing creative hubs. Testing the ground to identify the wider area’s cultural and commercial needs, the island’s rolling summer events included organic food markets, art galleries and music gigs.
Arkady Ippolitov, critic, curator and researcher, Hermitage Gallery
Arkady Ippolitov is an art critic, writer, essayist, and curator of Italian engravings in the State Hermitage Museum, with a number of art tomes to his name. His latest is a 21st-century reprise of an early 20th-century bestseller by Pavel Muratov, Images of Italy, an intellectual journey through Italy written from a Russian perspective. Ippolitov’s Images of Italy XXI (Lombardy in Particular) is neither art history nor guide book, he insists, but prose, and the first of seven volumes.
Mikhail Belyaev, product designer
The innovative thinking behind Mikhail Belayaev’s design concepts knows few bounds. From art objects and lighting to urban furniture for public park space, the eccentric designer has got most bases covered. Lately, he was invited by CIBART, an international body for bamboo and rattan, to create a socially conscious project.
Leonid Alexeev, fashion designer
Leonid Alexeev started out working for Russian suit manufacturer FOSP. His career went stellar after he entered St Petersburg Fashion Week with his own label in 2002. Various collaborations with art institutions such as Nevsky 8 and local clothing brand Anten followed, and Alexeev finally opened the doors to his flagship store in 2011.
Andrea Fabbri and Francesco Fresa, architects, Piuarch
Milan-based architecture studio Piuarch is headed by a team of four directors: Francesco Fresa, German Fuenmayor, Gino Gabrellini and Monica Tricario. Fresa and his project architect in Russia, Andrea Fabbri, were two of our key contacts in the country. They also designed the stunning Quattro Corti business centre in the heart of St Petersburg where we set up camp and our pop-up office during our stay there. Piuarch proudly counts Italian fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana among their clients, while the practice’s ever-growing Russian portfolio also includes projects in Moscow.
Leonid Garbar, restaurateur
One of St Petersburg’s leading restaurateurs, Leonid Garbar owns a string of eateries including the Stroganoff Steakhouse and the much-loved Vodka Museum, which, contrary to its ‘tourist-trap’ name, has become a local treasure. One of the first establishments to feature a display devoted entirely to the national drink, it boasts an epic vodka menu comprising nearly 250 tempting variations. The restaurant section, meanwhile, serves up traditional Russian fare to go.
Olga Polishuk, editor at The Village
Olga Polishuk is a senior editor at The Village, an online daily newspaper with 100 staff in Moscow and St.Petersburg. Since its launch two years ago, The Village has established itself as required reading for what its founder Vasily Esmanov describes as Russia’s ‘hipsters with muscles’.
Alexander Kanygin, product designer (left and right)
Alexander Kanygin’s playful animal faces are recognisable fixtures among St Petersburg’s cool set. Available in a myriad of sizes and colours as wall hanging or freestanding versions, they perfectly sum up the designer’s polished yet abstract aesthetic.
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