Soviet Critical Design: Senezh Studio and the Communist Surround (Cultural Histories of Design)
Soviet Critical Design is the first book to explore the socialist design practice of 'artistic projecteering', which was developed by the USSR's Senezh Experimental Studio in the 1960s.
Tom Cubbin examines the studio as a site for the development of the design discipline in the optimistic environment of the 1960s Soviet Thaw. He also explores how designers adapted to the fast-changing Soviet Union of the 1970s and 1980s, considering their approach to critical projects highlighting the Soviet state's treatment of citizens, urban heritage and public spaces.
Drawing on previously unpublished visual material from private archives and also extensive interviews, this book presents a new history of the late socialist period in the USSR, which gives insight into the creative strategies of designers who engaged their practice as a contribution to broader discussions on alternative models for socialist existence. Cubbin shows how artistic projecteering must be read as a utopian activity which privileged the political and ideological over the functional.