The aim of The Prestige Collection is to create the sense of discovery and wonder through the use of residential furniture. It combines ideas of “Western practicality” and “imagination of national narrative” to reflect the changes in values in today’s luxury industry and allows the user to conceal or reveal their acceptance and appreciation of both.
The Collection consists of three collectable pieces; similar and simple from the outside, but all have different Russian narratives that can be revealed. Below are descriptions of each narrative:
Clandestine: Clandestine is defined as something that is kept secret or hidden. This is the essence of this piece.
What if any object could be viewed as a secret treasure? Russian children grow up with a popular game of creating little treasures and hiding them to be unexpectedly found. They are called sikretiki (or little secrets) and are deeply rooted in Russian childhood culture. The concept is simple: take piece of “art” (a candy wrapper, or a tree leaf), cover it with a pieces of colored glass and hide it for someone else to discover its transformation throughout the seasons. Here, this cultural concept is incorporated into a luxury collectable object and can be revealed to the viewer.
The piece is hand lacquered in jet black. As each section is pulled apart, access to hidden drawers are revealed, each leading to a storage compartment. The embedded green glass (originally imported from Russia) at the top of each level is meant to distort the view of the contents of each drawer.
Matrena: The Russian appetite for theatrics is very well known and it is demonstrated once and again in Russian Matreshka dolls. Each bigger doll contains a smaller version stacked inside. You open the first doll and surprise! There is another one and another. To some extent you know what to expect and understand the uncanny concept. But curiosity keeps you going: all your life experience tells you the best hidden is the most valuable and fascinating. Finally, the last layer is opened and you happily say “I knew it!” But you really do not know until you reach the end.
This piece is hand lacquered in grey. All the components are linked by a single ribbon, which also serves as the stopping mechanism. As the sections of the box are moved, the ribbon naturally lifts up to reveal a bright pattern, and in a repetitive fashion eventually leads to the last compartment. The last compartment of the piece is fully patterned, so the end of the ribbon gets completely camouflaged.
Siberia: This piece illustrates the passing of time and anticipation of the destination, while traveling in a cross Siberian train. Do you remember white Russian winters from movies? The whole country is covered in puffy, glittery snow. It is the time of year that makes trips across Russia magical. Long train rides take you through distances and time. You stand by a frosty window of a train car and relive your memories that take you back to your years of youth, adolescence, childhood… It is cold and stormy outside but it does not matter because you are warm and going back to your best times when things were brighter, richer.
This piece is finished in white pitted plaster with inlaid metal trim, which imitates the travel of the train. When the piece is fully closed, the metal/train path seems direct and short. Although as the sections are pulled apart, the metal line becomes longer and longer at each stage and reflects the exaggeration of time during travel through Siberia. The bottoms of each compartment are grey tinted glass, which allows the user to gradually reveal the each compartment/stage of the journey.