14 February 2012

Food for Thought #5 - Is Russia the New Wild, Wild East?

I had the splendid pleasure of visiting Spain last week as a guest of that country’s tile manufacturers’ trade representatives, Tile of Spain or ASCER. They took our press group to Cevisama, a major trade show in Valencia featuring tile and bath fixtures. I’ll be sharing top trends and products from the show, and a Molten Gold or two, in the coming weeks.

Today, I’d like to muse on a particular trend I spotted there, one I hadn’t given any thought to before. Yes, I’m fascinated by kitchens and baths from other countries. Last summer, I was treated to a guest post by the Kitchen Mogul on the top UK favorites of that British blogger. I recently requested a guest post on Japanese kitchens and baths from an interior designer’s US publicist.

With this post, I openly invite a Russian blogger to share his or her thoughts and images on Russian kitchens and baths. I can only imagine their style from the tiles I saw at Cevisama that were slated for export there in the coming months.

Every time I asked a booth rep whether an over-the-top tile style was heading to the U.S. market, I got the same reply: No, Russian. That got me to thinking about that grand nation, the country of my grandmother’s birth and emigration more than a century ago.

The patterns I saw were as large as Siberia, and as fanciful as a fabled Faberge egg. The trend was formal and highly stylized – palatial even. It all reminded me of the grandiosity of an historic Texan oil baron’s mansion, or a saloon or bordello in an old movie western set.

I realized that the comparison is not terribly off. Nor is it meant to offend. Both cultures exemplify the triumph of energy, masculinity, exploration and discovery. Like the Wild West of American legend, Russia today is a land tapping into its vast natural resources, and enjoying great wealth as a result. Just as our tycoons did a century ago. He who finds the most treasure wins fame and fortune. Showing it off in your home is a relative benefit, and a recent one for many Russians. It must also be a refreshing change from the drab days of communist scarcity.

One of these years, I’d like to visit Russia myself. In the meantime, I’ll savor the glimpse this trade show afforded me. Let me know what you think, too!

Photo Notes:

> I took all of the Tile of Spain booth display shots with my iPhone 4S at Cevisama.
> Faberge Egg photo is from Wikipedia.


  1. very interesting and really awesome i love this.

  2. The designs in those photos are so very very unlike what we typically see in the US. Such ornate and elegant colors and patterns.

  3. Very true! I was stunned at the difference, but the tile companies certainly know their many markets.

  4. very interesting and really awesome i love this.

  5. Thank you very much! I'm curious about Indian design trends, too. What's hot in your area?


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