When Soviet Industrial Designers Imagined a Better World

Soviet-era industrial design is not usually remembered for fun, bold objects—but that was not for a lack of design talent. For the last three decades of the Soviet Union’s existence, the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Technical Aesthetics (VNIITE for short) helped exceptional designers develop exceptional products, from portable radios to town centers. Many of its best ideas, however, died before reaching the assembly line.

Formed in 1962 by Yuri Soloviev, a talented and...

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