Anastasia Tsayder’s project NII transforms the empty interiors of a Soviet scientific research institute into spaces that evoke a sense of transition. These abandoned spaces are both unsettling and strangely comforting. They feel familiar, yet also different from our usual reality, creating a feeling of unease. The soft carpets, velvet draperies, and wooden wall coverings both attract and repel us.
Soviet research institutes were designed to be separate from universities, focusing on highly narrow scientific problems. Unlike traditional universities that combine research and education, these institutes were meant to be isolated from the start. Some of them even became secure facilities, working with military or advanced technologies.
This isolation is even more apparent in the architecture and design of these institutes, especially when viewed in the context of today's society. The image of the research institute can be seen as both resembling Hermann Hesse's utopian Castalia, with its hidden hierarchy and closed scientific community, and symbolizing the Ark that preserves ideals and knowledge.