- Art & Design
Not every artist needs a canvas and brush to create beautiful works of art. Denis Milanov proves that; the genius Russian designer who manages to create substantial sculptures with oak and a chainsaw or chisel. His primal Russian roots are deeply embedded in his craft and designs. That is why we are happy to zoom in on this fascinating man on this occasion.
The artist's creative soul took its first shape when he studied woodworking at Moscow's art academy № 303 during the 1990s. Twenty years later, he made a name for himself by founding his own craft workshop DENIS MILOVANOV. In that studio, he first exhibited art objects made of wood and his series of functional kitchen utensils. Later, in 2016, he founded the brand SÓHA. A busy bee, then, as Milovanov has since collaborated with big names such as Zaha Hadid and Boris Vervoordt. His wonderful objects are a symbiosis of sustainable material and the pure nature of his craft. First of all, the creative selects old oaks blown down by stormy weather. A striking but extremely beautiful start to a process, if you ask us. Then he cuts down those trees and chops at them with a chainsaw until he can extract the utmost potential of a tree trunk. To honour Russian culture, he travelled across the country to master the local techniques of traditional artisans and slightly adapt them to his own style. The artist chooses to work exclusively with solid oak because of its ideal texture and large diameter from which to create monumental shapes. Moreover, this type of wood also offers perfect resistance to extreme temperatures. After the sculpting process, he boils the pieces of wood in linseed oil to give them an extra layer of protection. In the process, the wood also discolours, creating deep shades from chestnut brown to carbon black.
A symbiosis of sustainable material and the pure nature of his craft
His biggest inspiration for his totem-like designs, the designer draws from the seasoned wooden temples his ancestors once built in various northern Russian villages. These were intricate in phenomenal carvings that intrigued and inspired Milovanov. Because of the expressiveness of his works, imbued with hypnotic scars, his art ends up in many private collections. Yet you can also admire his work at prestigious international exhibitions and fairs such as PAD Paris, Maison&Objets and Design Miami/Basel. Images courtesy of Denis Milovanov