Rustam's From Russia With Midcentury Love Studio

Rustam's From Russia With Midcentury Love Studio

Gregory Han
Sep 28, 2012

Name: Rustam Babayev
Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Size: 335 square feet (31 sq. m)
Years lived in: 4 years - owned.

A colorful gem of small space living comes today by way of the northernmost largest city in Russia, Saint Petersburg. What may be equally surprising as the location and the cozy dimensions of the studio apartment is the enthusiastically vibrant and international midcentury elements which permeate throughout. Most interesting are the various Soviet-era pottery interspersed amongst the recognizable products from IKEA, Eames, and other mod pieces (alongside a photogenic feline roommate), a pastiche of today and yesterday's Russia...

It was initially a few photos of Rustam's collection of vintage and modern lighting, alongside his home entertainment and computer setup, that caught my eye. A few emails later and I was swimming in additional photos of a space bustling with plastic-fantastic details of a collector with a keen eye for vintage bargains and skillful display (love the color organized bookshelf, a dream come true for many a designer). Thus, a Tech Tour detoured into a House Tour...and we're all better for it, being afforded an opportunity to enjoy more from this playful example of mod living from Russia!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: I like to combine mid-century and contemporary furniture and accessories. The main thing for me is the harmony of all parts, the integrity of interior.

The inspiration for my home: Mid-century interiors from creative people found on their blogs and house tours on Apartment Therapy, of course.

Favorite element in your space: One day my parents gave me their library of the most impressive works from the world literature. These books were published in the USSR from 1967 to 1977. There are 200 volumes. The question arose how to fit so many books into already developed interior. The solution was found rather original: I took off the dust jackets of the books and placed on the shelf, grouping them by color. The result was the installation that catches the eye of every guest.

Biggest challenge in designing my space: The most complex thing was to create a harmonious space in one room that combines the functionality and aesthetics of the living room, the workplace and the bedroom.

What friends say about my space: They find it cozy, beautiful and very clean. Cleanliness and perfectionism are definitely my features.

Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: I'd like to add more wall art and vintage accessories to my space. Especially I'm interested in mid-century pottery.

Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project: There is a lot of DIY in my apartment. The most interesting work is the reproductions of collages by Henri Matisse: Polynesia, the Sky (1947) and Blue Nude IV (1952), which I did almost 15 years ago when I was a student. I cut out shapes from paper colored with gouache and glued them on the sheet also coated with gouache. Picture frames I did myself too.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my space: Vintage Zenith Eames MAX armchair. It is a second generation (no rope edge) from the early 1950s with large shock mounts and low X-base. I dreamed about this beautiful chair many years and finally I have it.

Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home: Do not let tech dominate in the interior, strive for simple forms.

Dream source for stuff: I got all my vintage stuff from eBay and Russian online flea markets (similar to Craigslist in the United States), I don't even dream about other sources.


Furniture: Eames MAX, Eames DSW, Eames DSR. Other furniture is mostly from Ikea. Black bed side table is DIY. It was made from the painted black table Ikea Mandal with legs from Ikea Frosta stool.

Accessories: Eames Hang-It-All, former Soviet Union pottery, reproductions of pictures and collages of Henri Matiss, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

Lighting: Ateljé Lyktan Bumling (floor and table brass lamps), designer Anders Pehrson (1968); Harvey Guzzini Bugia (yellow metal lamp), designer Giuseppe Cormio (1976); Harvey Guzzini Clan (large and small orange plastic floor lamps), Harvey Guzzini Bud (pendant lamp in the kitchen) designed by Studio 6G (1968); Harvey Guzzini vintage 70s red table lamp with tulip base. Other lamps are from Ikea.

Home Tech Hardware: LCD monitor Crossover 27Q-P, wireless keyboard and mouse, Logitech MK220, TV panel Panasonic TX-PR42U10, speakers Dynaudio Audience A42, amplifier Sony TA-FE700R.

Thanks, Rustam!

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(Photos: Rustam Babayev)

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