Russian design whiz and Instagram star Harry Nuriev began his career as an architect and interior specialist. But that was not enough for him. “I found it hard to have a dialogue with the world,” says the globally minded Nuriev, speaking from Paris, where he is to be found when he’s not in Moscow, Los
Angeles, or New York, the city that inspired his firm’s name
and where he has an office. “My language was maybe too
innovative or crazy for some.”
So the Moscow Architectural Institute grad founded Crosby Studios in 2014 to encompass his genre-blending projects. Along the way, he gained attention for his collaborations with visionaries like Rem Koolhaas and Liam Gillick and even had a solo museum show of his work at Dallas Contemporary.
“I love to explore the connections between art, design, and architecture,” he continues. The next logical step was to create Crosby Studios Home, his 40-piece home-goods and loungewear collection for the masses, allowing anyone to get a taste of his super-specific, color-drenched aesthetic, which blends mid-century modernism with a pop-y, KAWS-esque sensibility.
The pieces in Crosby Studios Home are very, very blue—when they are not chartreuse. Those seem to be Nuriev’s default colors, just as other designers stick to charcoal gray and off-white. The collection was a “quarantine project,” Nuriev says, developed when he was living in California last year. “I had been used to living in a space that I designed myself, but, in L.A., I was surrounded by unfamiliar things.” Just painting the walls his signature royal blue wasn’t going to cut it. “I needed something that would bring my
DNA into the place,” he says. “I came up
with an idea to make a home collection for people who don’t necessarily want to change their interior overnight, but still want to have some little details that
create a feeling. Sometimes just a blanket or a pillow can do that.”
Or maybe a big pillow, as in the life-size, human-shape one Nuriev created and calls the Neon Green Fur Little Man. “You can put it on your TV sofa and lay on it or hug it,” he notes. “It’s fun.” His hand-shape pillows are also intended to reference human contact. “It’s about handshakes and networking,” Nuriev says. “When we’re first born, we’re touched by our mother.” But there’s also a fair dose of ambition sewn into the pillows: “We’re bringing the Crosby touch all over the world,” he adds. Speaking of touch, the collection includes plush fleece loungewear sets, one in blue, of course. The line has just a hint of Russian flavor, too, such as the samovar, a decorative kettle specific to his home country that Nuriev oversized to 3 feet tall.
Several black-and-white checkerboard pieces, including a blanket, table, pillow, and stools, bring to mind the game of chess, a Russian passion. “Heritage is important to me,” Nuriev says, but his personality is the type that would rather be breaking new ground rather than looking backward. “I think design is pretty new—it’s like a baby,” he says. “It’s not yet as big as art and architecture, but it has the same potential.” In his mind, the field is just getting started, and so is Nuriev.
Despite the fact that many of the pieces are specifically designed to be soothingly tactile, Nuriev seems to have conceived each to pop
on a screen. And that’s just what he did last
December. Partnering with Hypebeast’s retail platform HBX, he created a virtual showroom, home.crosbystudios.com, which uses gaming software and AR technology to give viewers a peek at how the Crosby Studios Home items look in an interior, plus a link to purchase to them. They can navigate around a virtual apartment, seeing the collection in
3D and even measuring dimensions as you go. (The line is available at the bricks-and-mortar HBX Hong Kong, where it sold out soon after debuting, and hbx.com.)
This spring, Nuriev went bricks and mortar, too, opening Crosby Studios Store, a 2,300-square-foot showroom in the same Moscow building the Crosby Studios office is located. Since the two spaces are adjacent, Nuriev installed interior windows, so shoppers can catch glimpses of the Crosby Studios design team working away.
The store also picks up on the aesthetic of the office, where unfinished concrete backdrops swaths of upholstery in Nuriev blue. This is perhaps best seen in the showroom’s sunken living area—a trend that had long ended by the time the architect was born (he’s 36), but still clearly made an impression on him. “You see this in California homes by John Lautner,” Nuriev says. Visitors step down into an enormous round blue-velvet sofa clocking in at 16 feet in diameter, like a huge embrace. “For me, it’s about reuniting people. The circular shape is so strong. I love roundness—I even have a tattoo of a circle.”
The intense color of the Crosby Studios Home furnishings is set off by walls in the same concrete as the office or checkered in gray-and-white wallpaper. The latter backs a long stainless-steel bar in the shop’s café area, which serves blue-themed food and
beverages dyed using organic powders. “Now,” Nuriev says, “you can taste Crosby, too.”