Xenia Toueva

11 March – 27 May 2008
University of Applied Science, Darmstadt

I was there. Now, only one week after the last work day I can’t believe that it is over. At Sunday the 9th of March I passed the doors with a heroic face leaving my crying mother on the airport area in Frankfurt.

When I told her around a half year ago that I have found a design studio I like but in Moscow she kept pretty calm and wished me luck. At first I sent a short mail to Timur with something about me and my wish to help them rescue the world with design. He asked me for my portfolio. Being in the throes of pre-diploma stress I had no time to elaborate my operations. My portfolio consisted of four or five objects from university beginning in second semester and two products made in a previous internship in a company 10km away from my hometown. Two days after sending away I got a mail from Timur inviting me to Art. Lebedev Studio in Moscow. I didn’t expect it. The reaction of my environment was various. Professors from university, some friends and fellow students said that I should be happy to get such a chance. My grandmother and mother reacted shocked and wanted me to search for another company anywhere except of the wild east. After the procedure of getting an invitation, applying for a visa, packing bags and buying a flight ticket I was ready to go. During two and a half hours of flight my adventurous face began to get white until the man sitting next to me asked for ordering a relaxing drink for me. Arrived at Domodedovo I made the point that I had no idea of how huge Moscow really is. In a condition of total panic I forgot the code for my mobile. (I think if you would have asked me for my name I wouldn’t be able to answer) With my baggage (10kg more than recommended) I went into the arrival hall searching for Timurs face (we met in Frankfurt at Ambiente 08 a month ago). No face, no Timur, no mobile, panic. But everything got well like it seems to be every time in Moscow. Every dead-end situation you may get in will be solved per se like traffic situation on Moscow’s streets. The next day I met Timur in front of the studio (there is no notice) and got to know that Alexey, another designer was at Domodedovo to meet me. Timur wrote me a sms but I got it only after my plane took off and my mobile was turned off. At first day he showed me the working areas of prom-, web- and graph-design, the kitchen, the four different toilets, the whole 5th and first floor. He introduced me to the whole prom-design team. My working place was in the modelers-room just next to the main room. You get everything you need: comp full of useful programs, wacom, pencils and paper. The working hours are not fixed. I came at around 12 a.m. and left at around 10 p.m. At around 3 p.m. the whole prom-design team was going to the Vietcafe for lunch. Moreover you can drink coffee and tea as much as your capacity allows. (toilets are not far) Everywhere in the studio there are roosts with blankets and cushions which give the studio a home atmosphere. The studio is never empty. At every time of the day (and night) you can find people working, partying or sleeping there. The studio is like a creative anthill with lots of ants belonging to prom, graph or web carrying ideas and inspirations around. I don’t want to explain who the ant queen is, you-know-who. Tema briefed me in an intern project. The briefing was short and it is up to you how to work on it. I worked until the end on this project with one or two parallel smaller projects and own projects for the “brain”. You will never be told how to work. There is nobody who will teach you. If you want to learn something you have to go to the person by whom you want to be taught and ask him/her not whether he/she can teach you but when does this person have time for you. Now, three months older and plenty of experiences richer I can say what I did wrong and more or less right. All in all I enjoyed the time in the studio with right these people around me, committing own errors (who else should to my mistakes beside me?) Some cultural tips for future interns: you will get to know the city best if you will follow only the tip of your nose. Walking around alone without plan will show you lots of specialties which you will never find in a guide.

At last some thank you.

Thanks to Tema for pointing out my flaws, it will help me more than every kind of praise. Thanks to Timur who called me to Moscow. Thanks to Wera for talking and dancing. Thanks to Dima for his fucking special kind of humor and mostly great music. Thanks to Alexey, Sascha and Kostja for making every lunch funny. Thanks to Lelic who made me want to go to work and changed my opinion. Bronwen, Benoit and Lysandre, I wish you a great time in Moscow and that everything stays лтхфп!

PS: make your own mistakes, make your own experiences. With best wishes to you all!

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