When I think birch, I think about North American craftwood and I also think about a little log cabin by the lake, but I don't think about minimal design. The work of Russian designer Anastasiya Koshcheeva proves that this material can be worked to the core to yield stunning, very contemporary and minimal designs.
She is turning an age-old Siberian craft into contemporary design. The deep material research allows to combine traditional skills with modern technologies and to make the conventional handcraft up-to-date. The results is more than stunning, it is design at its best.
‚Taburet‘ is a stool with a three-dimensional seat made of birchbark stripes, sewed and fixed together on a steel frame. The stable, light and elastic meshwork looks different from every angle and builds an optical illusion, cushioning the stool in a decorative and comfortable way.
The concept of ‘Svetoch’ Lamp is based on a traditional glue-free craft method of joining birchbark parts together, combining it with a laser cutted structure and celebrating the material. It produces a very soft and diffused light, playing with shadows and making every room cosy.
Thanks to the antibacterial and isolating qualities of birchbark, ‚Tuesa‘ containers are perfect for storage of food, spices and tea, as the essential oil inside the bark can keep contents fresh, cold or warm for a longer time. They are manufactured by Siberian craftsmen with a lot of love and care, using traditional knowledge and only the best natural bark. The series combines traditional skills with a present-day look, supporting an age-old craft from Siberia and recovering the tradition of manufacturing.
Sibirjak is a contemporary lounge chair made of birchbark. The fascinating natural material is not only flexible, soft, water-repellent and antibacterial, but also breathable, durable and strong. Despite these unique characteristics, it gets gradually forgotten. In response, Sibirjak deals with the question of how to reinterpret an age-old tradition and also how to make the conventional handcraft up-to-date.
The chair and ottoman combination emphasizes the material aesthetics, combining traditional skills with modern processing. The horizontal alignment of the bark underlines the leather-like properties of the material, is welcoming and offers a wide comfortable seat. The textile details and the reduced geometric frame form a strong contrast to the natural birchbark.
Sibirjak differs strongly from the conventional folkloristic impression and at the same time invigorates the traditional handcraft by showing new possibilities in a contemporary context.
Images © Anastasiya Koshcheeva