Antiseptical birch bark

Product design with the plastic of the Middle Ages

2 November 2016

Russian-born and Berlin-based designer Anastasiya Koshcheeva is turning a decade old Siberian handcraft from her hometown into contemporary design. Koshcheeva configures “From Siberia”, a product-series made of natural birch bark. The fascinating natural material is not only flexible, soft, water-repellent and antibacterial, but also breathable, durable and strong.

Birch bark with essential oils prevent fungal attack

Despite these unique characteristics, it gets gradually forgotten. In response, Anastasiya Koshcheeva deals with the question of how to reinterpret an age-old tradition and also how to make the conventional handcraft up-to-date.

Produced in collaboration with siberian craft, the series combines conventional skills with present-day processing and shows the fascinating properties of the material in different applications. The project differs strongly from the usual folkloristic impression and at the same time invigorates the regional siberian handcraft by showing new possibilities in a present-day context.

“From Siberia” develops further the idea of Koshcheevas first Material Research Project about birchbark debuted last year at Salone Satellite Moscow. The product-series consists of three products. Each product represents some unique and outstanding qualities of birch bark.

Sibirjak - Antiseptical birch bark

image: Lounge chair made of birch bark

The second product of the series is TABURET Stool. The three-dimensional meshwork made of birch bark stripes is sewed and fixed together on a steel frame. The stable and springy seat builds an optical illusion, cushioning the stool in a decorative and comfortable way. The bark ist soft, but also stiff enough to avoid sagging of the meshwork. Taburet shows how flexible, durable and strong the birchbark is.

Svetoch birch bark

image: Svetoch lampshade

The concept of SVETOCH Lamp is based on a traditional glue-less craft method of joining birchbark parts together. Svetoch produces a very soft and diffused light, making every room homely and celebrating the material.

TUESA Containers are perfect for storing of food, spices or tea. Thanks to the antibacterial and isolating qualities and the essential oil produced by the birch bark, Tuesa can keep contents fresh 2 or even 3 times longer than the conventional materials as glas or plastics.

Tuesa are very easy to handle: the surface of the containers is soft and non-slip, even if they get wet. They are very light, durable and sturdy. The lid and the base are produced from the Siberian cedarwood. The containers are highly stable due to their angular shape and a skillful stitching that defines the edges along that the bark is folded.

Anastasiya Tuesa birch bark

image: Tuesa storage jars from antiseptic birch bark

In contrast to the traditional craft, this line is produced from the velvety inner side of the birch bark, processed according to a technique developed by Anastasiya Koshcheeva, representative for her work. Anastasiya Koshcheeva combines high-contrast colours and textures with completely natural birch bark.

She creates present-day and functional objects with character that have a story and tell it through the design. All the products of the series are manufactured by Siberian craftsmen with a lot of love and care, using traditional knowledge and only the best natural bark.

images: Anastasiya Koshcheeva