Visit to Stieglitz Academy of Art & Design, St Petersburg, RUSSIA.
Eight months of planning led us to this historical moment. Vehicle Design students from Finland and Russia working together and getting to know each other, collaborating closely on solving transportation . After initial meetings in St Petersburg it was agree we would try to achieve an ambitious synergy of our courses and also a collaborative workshop. Somehow it happened in November of 2015. Our 3rd year Vehicle Design students and a special guest from the University of Lapland headed off on the 12th of November for a 10 day adventure in St. Petersburg, where we would meet with Steiglitz Academy students of Transport Design. First on the agenda, was to present our progress on a design brief that we had all agreed to earlier in October.
We began our visit presenting the results of our joint project- called No Infrastructure. We aimed to design innovative future transport systems for the remote areas of Russia and Finland. Next on our agenda for the week, was to visit many amazing museums and art galleries in St Petersburg, and to settle in during the weekend I guess you might say. We began our full week in St. Petersburg with a collaborative joint workshop at Steiglitz Academy, with the theme of creating an abstract artwork in one day, as a group. In total more than 20 students took part. The first one day intense workshop was created by our Russian colleagues Sergey Helmianov, and Vikenty Gryaznov. The exact theme was determined by each student group, based on a brief as follows “Abstract dynamic form sculpture, with a descriptive theme of your choice.”. The groups did not know each other before the day began, and language barriers meant that communication was not easy but somehow they pulled off some very interesting and exciting work within the space of just that day. A winning project was chosen, and prizes of a signed model minibus (the designer works at the academy!) were presented. Later that week our own teachers would set another 1 day workshop, created by vehicle design teacher Lee Walton. This time new mixed groups were formed to collaboratively work to design four different car designs for a future Hyundai Solaris. What is a Solaris, and why did we choose Hyundai? Well, midweek we had the pleasure of a factory tour at the St Petersburg Hyundai manufacturing plant, where a Russian build Hyundai Solaris car is built. This was invaluable research and experience for vehicle design students and inspired the topic of the vehicle design workshop. The broader theme was an exploration of differing styles of design. Four groups were created, with two groups exploring more traditional vehicle design practices while the rival groups worked on a more radical design philosophy. The one-day workshop created a lot of discussion, and again very impressive results. We ended our truly enjoyable visit with a sociable evening and we all felt we had made some genuine friends over in Russia. Lahti Vehicle Design department and St Petersburg are forming a close relationship for the long-term future, and we hope there will be more cooperative projects coming soon.