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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Throughout the 1970s, Soviet designers were increasingly concerned with environments rather than separate objects. By the end of the decade, they came to recognize sustainability as a crucial problem not only of market economies but also of socialist planned economies. This chapter brings to light an early attempt to practice environmentally affirmative design in the USSR: a design program for nationwide recycling infrastructure, launched in Leningrad in 1979. Drawing on archival sources, it shows how a team of Leningrad designers expressed a distinctly socialist approach to sustainability through a comprehensive visual form: the approach based on citizen responsibility as much as on the role of material objects as agents of social change. This never-implemented design program is considered here not as yet another socialist utopia, but as an original vision of mass mobilization through design, informed by the legacy of Russian avant-garde as much as by current Western design trends.

Keywords: Soviet design, objects, environments, recycling, visualization of sustainability, avant-garde legacy

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