The exhibition “Technical aesthetics” introduces visitors to achievements of the Russian design school through examples of vehicle projects created by soviet designers in the 1960-80’s. The exhibition presents unique experimental projects, developed at VNIITE (All-Soviet Institute of Technical Aesthetics) and other soviet design organizations, as well as models that were put into production.
In the early 1960´s design became part of soviet state policy, leading to the founding of VNIITE in 1962 with Yuri Soloviev as its head. The institute had a number of tasks including development and integration of design practices, setting standards for product design, scientific research, and fostering international relations. During its life span VNIITE staff developed design projects that defined the outward appearance of product lines and their production methods both in the Soviet Union and abroad.
In the 1960-70’s alongside the development of VNIITE’s central office in Moscow it opened 10 regional branches in major Union Republics around the USSR. In addition to this, there was created an extensive network of Specialized design bureaus (SHKB) and other industry-specific design departments that received development guidelines from VNIITE. These design departments worked closely on developing local industry objectives, methods and applications of industrial design, optimized the relationship between designers, engineers and production workers.
Automotive design was one of the priority areas of soviet design development. Automotive designers had to work together with engineers to solve many design problems, starting from the overall design concept and layout of the vehicle to observing the aerodynamics of the form and ergonomics of the interior. The need to introduce new materials and technology while effectively using the factories’ existing production capabilities required designers to look for creative solutions. Unfortunately, due to difficulties related with a planned economy and the overall bureaucratization of the government system most of the projects developed at VNIITE as well as at ZIL, AZLK, AvtoVAZ, GAZ, KAMAZ, UAZ were never put into production and exist only as drawings and sketches.
In the 1970's VNIITE established a new department tasked with the promotion of design methods for their further adoption by various soviet industries. The first Soviet Design Centre, or Centre for Technical Aesthetics was opened in the new building of the “Izvestija” publishing house at the Pushkinskaya square in Moscow. The centre acted as an exhibition space for working prototypes and to-scale models that introduced Moscow citizens and out-of-town visitors to the best national developments in design. The Moocow Design Museum is proud to carry on this tradition by introducing important soviet automotive design projects, many of which are still relevant today.