Alexander Brodsky is a Russian artist and avant-garde architect who builds wonderful structures out of old and local materials in the hope of creating something free of modern ideology. For him, they stand as a reaction against the unregulated and often corrupt building industry which has been transforming Moscow since the mid-90′s. The spaces that he creates are often unique in their style and their function and quite often become a way for him to aestheticize the informal.
Take for example his terrifically titled Pavilion for Vodka Ceremonies which was built at theKlyazminskoye Reservoir Resort in 2004. It is a space designed solely for a single use, a place where the act of drinking becomes almost zen-like. Here, vodka drinking gains a reverence similar to that of the Japanese tea ceremony. Inside, everything is kept to the bare essentials – there is little more then a small table, a pair of tin mugs on chains and a large basin of vodka. Brodsky has created a unique space and a new type of ceremony. For him, it is a simple and material metaphor for the Russian ‘art de vivre’; a space and ceremony for the Russian way of life. Say what you will about vodka itself, but for me this structure is wonderfully charming as well as being an interesting take on the function of a structure and a questioning of the relevance of ceremony in contemporary life.