Perm, Russian Federation
As the LP points out Perm has a feel of a design city. The small amount of public art and city motifs that I’ve seen attest to this. Even the ex-Soviet monstrosity of a building that now houses the Hotel Ural has been re-designed looking for an aesthetic, which I don’t think it attains. I stayed in a cheap room and had to laugh to myself yesterday after I arrived from the train to ask for a room. I took the lift to floor 5 and walked down one of the longest hotel floor corridors I’ve ever seen. At the end of this corridor the schmick new decor ceased and the original old soviet building emerged like a morph from beneath. Old carpets, rickety old parquetry flooring and drab colours on walls. The room was clean and spacious nonetheless. My favourite public art piece is the big ‘P’ (in cyrillic of course, which is ‘П’) writ large in 3D and with four faces. It’s made entirely of treated pine logs bolted together in a chaotic tumble. But the overall result is a study in crisp aesthetic over disorder internal – things may be at odds but order is seen. And that order is in Perm.