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The World of Mama Ro

When we were climbing up onto the Moscow roofs and only dreaming of opening of Mama Ro, we imagined an exciting place that we would one day create. There, all of the possibilities, whether they were different eras, cultures, or subjects that seemed simply incompatible at first glance ideas, would interweave into one another to create a new incredible product. We wanted this place to be integrated with the space around us so that people in its interiors would feel a connection with a large, diverse world, and when coming out of it they would feel as if they took a journey for the first time and then come back with a feeling of childhood nostalgia. The Mama Ro Planet is our poetic understanding of this place. From that moment on the roofs, we have been working enthusiastically on its creation.

Timeline of Mama Ro

If you take a look at the events taking place on the Mama Ro Planet, you will find an endless story that can be read in any order. Initially, we created the Mama Ro Planet to show the events in a consecutive order that had led us to the creation of Mama Ro. However, if you start to read this story, it gradually becomes clear that it is a chain, the order does not matter, and that everything on the Mama Ro planet is ultimately correlated as it is in the world. Hover over any of the events and see it yourself.

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Timeline
Working on the Roof

If you take a look at the events taking place on the Mama Ro Planet, you will find an endless story that can be read in any order. Initially, we created the Mama Ro Planet to show the events in a consecutive order that had led us to the creation of Mama Ro. However, if you start to read this story, it gradually becomes clear that it is a chain, the order does not matter, and that everything on the Mama Ro planet is ultimately correlated as it is in the world. Hover over any of the events and see it yourself.

The Burned Banya (Russian Sauna)

Fall came and we had the sketches of the future Mama Ro project done. The initial work would begin only in 6 months – and it’s true that at the time the team was missing a co-founder, Anton and Tolya hadn't had met Volodya yet. The burned down banya fixed everything: it got set on fire by overheating. In the end, they had no choice and the friends who had rented a workshop in the center of Moscow would have to seek for its tenant. They needed money to pay off the owner of banya. The new tenant turned out to be Volodya.

The Logo Creation

There are beautiful oaks in the Kremlin in Moscow. It was springtime when we were working on a business presentation of the future project. So, we combined the monotonous planning process and number crunching with hiking: we would go out to take in the night air and a sky that was lined with swallows. We would walk to Red Square and even have picnics under the trees near the Kremlin’s Tsarskaya Tower. One of our walks led us inside of the Kremlin where we admired the branchy oaks. We found a sign between them explaining that one of the oaks was planted on April 12, 1961 - the day of Yuri Gagarin's journey into outer space. We began to research this story on the Internet and found out that among other things the oak tree in Old Russian folklore was an image of the world tree. All this was useful to us later when the creative process came to an end and we came up with the logo.

The Accidental Meeting

Mama Ro is mysteriously connected with Yuri Gagarin. His oak tree in the Kremlin inspired us to create the logo and a day before the anniversary of the first manned flight into space (April 12, 1961) a meeting with the three founders of the project in 2011, took place. Neither Anton nor Tolya expected that they would meet up and work together. Moreover, they would have never met Volodya without this meeting. On April 12, Anton and Julia went to the Polytechnic Museum on the occasion of the Cosmonautics Day. That same day, Tolya was working on a presentation and he suddenly needed an assistant director-animator. He knew Anton from school (he studied animation there) but since then they hadn’t seen each other for 8 years. Nevertheless, Tolia decided to call Anton for help while going to take a break to go to The Chiburechnaya (Place of chiburekki, a traditional tatar dish). He found Anton through a social network, sent him a message and went outside. The Chiburechnaya was not far from the Polytechnic Museum. Anton and Julia were heading there at the same time. So, Tolya entered The Chiburechnaya and met Anton to their common surprise. Two weeks later, the work on the animated film inspired both friends to arrange their own workshop in the center of the city. And this was the start of Mama Ro's story.

Victory Day on May 9

We were doing a business presentation of Mama Ro to find an investor for the project and at first, it seemed simple, but throughout the course of the work it became clear that it would require more effort. With a clear understanding that this should be done perfectly, we quit our jobs in order to devote all the spare time we had to a work on the project. At the same time it was the time of Victory Day’s (May 9th) preparations in Moscow. We walked along decorated streets where we saw old military posters saying "All for the front", "All for the victory", somehow encouraging us in what we were doing. It is surprising but in the end we finished the Mama Ro presentation exactly by May 9 - it was our own victory, however, the main battle, as it turned out, was lying ahead of us: not having received the investment, we realized this was either an end or we needed to give it one more try and follow it through. So, we borrowed money from friends, changed the strategy, cut down the project from 500 square meters to 80 and came to a decision to create the first two studios with our own hands.

Julia’s Apartment

Our project owes a lot to the girls. As it often happens, they were helping and supporting us at the right time: not letting us die of hunger when we were working hard from morning till night, cheering us up when it was hard and helping out when it all seemed impossible. Mama Ro owes its existence to Julia, Alina, Zlata, Roxana, Tanya and Masha. And even its name – it comes from the name Roxana. Ironically, the man’s desire for creating Mama Ro with our own hands came from Julia as well – we were inspired by her example... This house was situated on the opposite side of the Kremlin on the Vodootvodny Canal ("water bypass canal"). Julia rented a room there two years before Mama Ro’s creation and decided to renovate it. She worked every day and we helped her. A little later on, when we also rented a studio in the center of the city, this is what inspired us to do all the work on our own. And after a while the result would bring us to our first idea to open Mama Ro, which we would have to build with our own hands as well.

Bell tower of St. John the Baptist

When we rented the studio that led us to creation of Mama Ro, our desire to live in the center was very particular: we were inspired by history. There was a striking feeling that Moscow is a constantly winding round clock of epochs, and it was exciting unwinding it by walking through the ancient curved streets. One day at work during a business presentation of the future project, we went out for a walk and found ourselves near the bell tower of St. John the Baptist Church across the river from the Kremlin. It was Easter and all comers were allowed to climb up to ring a bell. As we were passionate about climbing up roofs, we immediately found ourselves at 20 meters above Moscow and observed the landscape (which became a basis of the Mama Ro planet): St. Basil's Cathedral, The bell tower of Ivan the Great and Kremlin’s towers were rising above the roofs of the surrounding dilapidated mansions. The ribbon of Pyatnitskaya street was stretching towards them and then seemed to be running away back deep into the past, and we immediately started wondering how many ages this bell tower had seen, observing for centuries this unchanging Moscow landscape. A little while later, when we started building Mama Ro, our ultimate goal was to convey this same sense of unity between Mama Ro Studios and the city.