Russian style

From Historicism to Art Nouveau
Project Type:
Permanent exhibition

800 sq.m.

more than 300 items from museum foundation

All-Russian Museum of Decorative, Applied and Folk Art
Scope of works:

Interpretative planing

Project assistance


Work with museum collections

Exhibition design and Creative direction

Tender documentation

Project management

Graphic design

November 2015 – October 2017
The project team:

Julia Napolova

Sofia Novikova

Tatyana Skovorodina

Alena Kapchegasheva

Nikolay Onishchenko

What is the essence of the Russian style, famous «a la russe»? The museum’s new permanent expoisition gives the answer. It demonstrates the priceless and diverse museum collection: artworks from wood, metal, glass and ceramic, as well as interior objects, fabric samples, costumes, shoes, cleats and even children’s toys. All from the heartland of Russia, created in the 19th century. 

Each exhibition hall represents its own art movement, uniting them together in coherent timeline of the Russian style. «Folk Art» hall is about spinning wheels, cleats, wooden baking tins for Russian pryaniks, folk costumes and handmade fabrics. «Historicism» hall dwells on the intricate blend of Russian and Byzantine styles. While the «Art Nouveau» presents the interior objects designed by famous Russian painters and graphic artists: Mikhail Vrubel’s maiolica fireplace, Elena Polenova’s furniture objects and Sergei Malyutin’s china cabinet and dining room sets.

The exposition design unites such diverse artistic landscape together. Our main colors were blue, grey and green — the colors of Russian North, as well as the key pallette in Russian modern art. Every hall is as well decorated with friezes that replicate major ornaments of each era.

For us the pan-European context was especially important. We wanted to present the Russian style as an integral component of Western art history. Thus the exhibition opens with colorful mosaic panel, the all-European art movement timeline. Here the Russian modern style goes hand in hand with the French «art nouveau», German «jugendstil»» and the Vienna Secession. Those were interconnected, yet not concurrent cultural processes. For us it was essential to synchronize them together.