“Northern design Lab” is a collaborative project of National Museum of the Republic of Karelia and “ECHO” association. It aims to create new possibilities for creative industry development in Karelia.
“Northern design Lab” is largely an extension of the “Karelian handicraft cluster” project. In 2018, as a part of the project, association “ECHO” with participation of National Museum of the Republic of Karelia has established a firm bond between the craftspeople and conducted the "'Karelian handicraft cluster' as a regional handicraft development model in Karelia" research. The research shows that for creative industries in Karelia to develop effectively, it is essential to generate special conditions for the cooperation of art community, museums, educational institutions, and NPOs.
The “Northern design Lab” project assumes collaboration between museums and the art community for the new and in-demand cultural products and services to emerge, for expertise to grow, and for innovative ways of working with cultural heritage to be tested. The project involves hosting three creative labs in order to create thematic itineraries of the history and the current state of the creative enterprise in Petrozavodsk, a Northern design exhibitions, and a museum gift shop with unique handcrafted and designer items. Museums will become a contemporary space, where in addition to storing and demonstrating cultural heritage artefacts people will be able to conceive and showcase innovation in graphic (print, and web design), industrial (product, and fashion design), environmental (public space, and exhibition design) as well as in communication design.
The newly-established principles of northern design, built on the concept of local identity, promise to serve as content and visual markers of the region, and to lead to ingenuity in stylistic solutions. They will pave the way for the development of contemporary museum services, as well as the development of creative endeavours in Karelia and the North-West of Russia.
The project is being implemented by the winners of the “Museum 4.0” contest, hosted by “Museum without borders” of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation. The total budget of the project is 6 million rubles, 5 million of which is a grant, provided by the Potanin Foundation, and the rest has been acquired through fundraising.