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.
Koto Bolofo photographs St Petersburg’s brightest and best
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.
Vasily Konashenok, organic food promoter for LavkaLavka
Vasily Konashenok is key to LavkaLavka’s operations in St Petersburg. LavkaLavka is an organisation that promotes organic farming and local produce through farmers markets, food festivals and a delivery service in Russia’s leading cities. Konashenok has rallied 13 odd farmers and 40 odd producers to supply markets and customers directly in the St Petersburg area.
Aleksey Mikolaichouk, New Holland team
Aleksey Mikolaichouk is New Holland’s creative department manager and working together with Roxane Chatounovski and their team of five, they have so far overseen two summers of exciting activities as part of this Iris Foundation-ran scheme. Mikolaichouk was instrumental in securing and setting up of our photo booth on St Petersburg’s historic island.
Dmitri Ozerkov, curator, Hermitage Gallery
Dmitri Ozerkov is currently the curator of contemporary art at the State Hermitage Museum, but his knowledge in the field of art extends back several centuries – he previously worked on 15th- to 18th-century European prints and has published on diverse subjects, from Freud to Miró, the Russian avant-garde, and Spanish art of the 17th century.
Alexander Galiev, restaurateur
Adding to St Petersburg’s expanding restaurant scene, Alexander Galiev has recently launched Pan-Asian restaurant Tao. Located on the city’s newly established culinary strip, the eaterie comprises a bar, two dining rooms and a shisha lounge. Set to be the must-visit place for all locals, Tao is just the beginning of some major plans to expand to Moscow and New York.
Anna Kuchkina, model agent
A former international fashion model who appeared on the catwalks for the likes of Yohji Yamamoto and Christian Dior, Anna Kuchkina officially retired in 2010 and has become the authority on all model-related matters, running the international bookings branch for Moscow and St Petersburg-based model agency, Grace.
Lina Perlova, owner, Design Gallery
Anybody even remotely interested in contemporary design in St Petersburg – if not the whole of Russia – knows the Design Gallery on Bolshaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa. The brainchild of design aficionado Lina Perlova, the store and gallery has been presenting the cutting edge of contemporary product and furniture to the city’s design-conscious public ever since it opened in 1995. When Perlova offered to throw a cocktail party for Wallpaper* and few select guests in St Petersburg we couldn’t resist; cue a night of fun with some of the city’s most elegant and hospitable people.
Lidia Zamkova, press officer, Sparkle
The St Petersburg representative for global PR and Communications agency Sparkle, Lidia Zamkova is an all-round culture enthusiast who not only promotes the company’s ever-growing list of luxury clients, but is also the fashion blogger and special correspondent for the brand’s online magazine. Eager and reliable, Zamkova also became someone we could count on to help us experience the best of a remarkable city.
Lana Agiyam, product desiger
Lana Agiyan has secured her place in St Petersburg’s design scene with collection of multifunctional objects. From a flower shaped rug to a rocking baby crib that looks like a floating bubble, each of her durable products are served up with her signature brand of quirky whimsy.
Dopludo Collective, product designers
Founded in 2006, Dopludo Collective is a multidisciplinary studio comprised of Karina Eibatova (not pictured), Egor Kraft and Lesha Galkin that creates both product designs and illustrations. The studio’s work, which spans furniture, posters and textiles, has garnered much international attention.
Alena Oleynik, fashion stylist
Fashion guru Alena Oleynik works for St Petersburg-based clothing enterprise, DayNight Group, who recently launched their concept store, featuring a tantalising range of hard-to-get avant-gard labels from A.F. Vandevorst to Barbara Bui and Haider Ackermann. Also a freelance stylist, Oleynik worked on making the models look good for some of our shoots featured in the magazine.
Yaroslav Misonzhnikov, product designer
Yaroslav Misonzhnikov is no stranger to the international design circuit, having previously made appearances at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, IMM Cologne and even Salone del Mobile. Despite having an industrial style, much of his work references aspects of everyday life, from tree branches to horse harnesses.
Galina Reshetova, W Hotel Insider
With strict interview sessions in which you need to answer various questions on fashion, entertainment and design, they certainly don’t make it easy to become an ‘Insider’ at the W Hotel. Well-versed in all cultural aspects relating to St Petersburg, Galina Reshetova has an overview of the city’s alternative gallery scene as much as she does about bars and restaurants. Our ‘go-to’ girl in the city, Reshetova provided us with an extensive must-do list of the city’s best.
Lesya Paramonova, illustrator
Lesya Paramonova is a Moscow-based illustrator and designer with a passion for floral prints and ethereal femininity. Paramonova showcased her LES collection in the March Cycles and Seasons by Mastercard, where she won the first Prize in the Preview category. Her work has been featured in Russian Vogue and coveted by Susie Bubble, and her last project involved creating eight looks for the luxury Moscow store TSUM.
Anna Denisenko, product designer
Anna Denisenko’s creative approach to interiors and products won her the chance to exhibit with the inaugural Russian Federation Pavilion during Florence Design Week this year. The industrial/interior designer, whose work is punctuated with architectural overtones, graduates from St Petersburg Art and Industry Academy at the end of this year.