Recognised in the western world since the 1990s for his now very famous engravings from the bumazhnaya arkhitektura (paper architecture) period, and later for small vernacular pavilions designed for temporary or permanent site-specific installations, Aleksandr Brodsky has designed his first large-scale work for the Veret’evo estate.
Like any self-respecting Russian estate, Vert’evo – a former pioneer colony – is surrounded by a wild green space covering seven hectares – a magical forest in which to lose oneself and find oneself far from city life.
Russia’s culture – its art, literature and poetry – has always drawn a dual identity from both the urban ‘dvoryets’ and the rural ‘dachas’, seesawing between the official, public, cosmopolitan life of the great metropolis and the isolated, intimate life linked to the folklore and traditions of Great Russia’s huge countryside. It is no coincidence that on the walls of the Vert’evo villa there is a fresco depicting the first great poet of the Russian language, Aleksandr Pushkin, whose poetry expresses the boundless Russia of the countryside, vernacular and folkloric, alongside the country’s worldly ‘European’ side.
The project developed by Brodsky, together with Ilya Pigarev and Irina Galkina, is a silent act of weaving: the designers stitch together the unspoilt space of the park, characterised by a wild landscape reflected in bodies of water running through it, with paths for crossing and pausing.
Their minimal interventions are completely integrated into the landscape: wooden slat walkways invite visitors to cross the space and lead to a number of small pavilions designed for resting, reflection and reading. At night, the entire route is illuminated, revealing its intricate mesh.