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Tillberg, Margareta

Design in the USSR: collaboration for compatibility within and beyond the Eastern Bloc

This paper will present some case-studies from VNIITE, the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for Technical Esthetics, founded in Moscow in 1962, the only design institute in the Cold War Soviet Union. Raising questions of innovation, standardization and systemization, the development of Soviet design is closely linked to issues of internationalization and globalization of science and knowledge in practice.
VNIITE provides a unique case of the combined values of humanism and efficiency put into practice. A civil institution in a society with its bulk of material production in the hands of the secret military-industrial complex, VNIITE’s research and development pursued the explicit goal of promoting human comfort and welfare, values that had been purged from the 1930s. A free-zone for research, to some extent inhabited by dissidents, my investigation reveals interactions across institutional demarcations that have not been studied before. The paper discusses concrete projects for collaboration and transfer of knowledge across the borders of the USSR.

Thursday 29 Oct, 16.15-18.15 SESSION 3
Panel: The Transfer of Knowledge and Changing Values