The search for housing in Moscow each time confronts the tenant with a “renovation for the euro that they did for themselves,” and sometimes with a “kitchen under a single EURO countertop”. The editor around Life gathered a selection of interiors of apartments of the "gold standard" and asked the anthropologist and designers why perestroika chic is still in demand.
What is a European-quality repair
Professor, Department of Anthropology, European University of St. Petersburg
It was a reaction to the late Soviet aesthetics of the interior - which, incidentally, was not quite stylistically uniform: it was limited to materials and furniture that were available for sale. All that under the name of European-quality repair appeared in the 1990s was not directly related to Europe, but it gave the impression of something non-Soviet. New materials made it possible to create a decoration of non-Soviet comfort with limited means: suspended ceilings make it possible to hide the real state (like walls made of drywall mask anything), the Soviet-style chandeliers were no longer used in lighting.
Drywall and laminate as inexpensive materials by that time had long been common in Europe, wardrobes and lush leather sofas embodied the idea of how comfort is arranged. People who suddenly find themselves with at least some money and do not know how to spend it, needed to make their dream of comfort. So she took shape in the form of European-quality repair.
Criticism of the concept of “European-quality repair” does not accept just this imitation and half-heartedness, an abundance of false panels, cowardly nondescriptness of color solutions, bashful amateur decorativeness and amateur performance, because European-quality repair is the result of the work of the builder, not the designer. It would be naive to believe that one day in the world (Europe, Russia, Asia ...) the Scandinavian style, so sweet to the hipster heart, will win. Now if you imagine for a moment that the bourgeois and officials massively loved IKEA, then we, the aesthetic avant-garde, would have no choice but to find an alternative for ourselves and feel that it contained real comfort that pleasantly massaged our advanced attitude to the broad masses of identity.
"For the first time, after a fresh renovation""Cosmetic repair under EURO""The apartment is for uncompromising connoisseurs of luxury. Only high-quality materials and accessories from the best manufacturers in Europe! The apartment is a quality European renovation in a modern style""One-bedroom apartment with EURO REPAIR, just completed. Kitchen set under a single euro countertop. Separate bathroom (two of them) in euro tiles to the ceiling"
How designers relateto "repair under the euro"
For me personally, European-quality repair causes bad associations. How many old gypsum stucco moldings have been destroyed. The magnificent oak parquet, requiring only some restoration, was mercilessly replaced by a rattling laminate. In addition to artistic losses, uncontrolled interventions in the engineering and structural basis of the building were a significant threat. Ventilating struts were at best sewn up, and at worst dismantled at all, leaving neighbors without ventilation. Home-made openings and uncontrolled gating of capital bearing walls can still be a time bomb in rooms that have undergone this same European-quality repair.
Anna Aminova, supervisor
Department of Design Studio Romanoff & Wood
Now "renovation" has become synonymous with "repair". This is just a certain standard of quality, the lower limit of the dreams of those who plan to put the apartment in order. This is a very convenient term. If I say or hear from the customer the term “European-quality repair”, I understand that it will be a little easier for us to find a common language, and the person who orders the European-quality repair can be sure that, using this expression, he will not meet surprised looks.