Sculptors have an aphorism which perfectly describes the approach to creativity, “You need to sculpt not lips but all around it.” This similar principle is applied in the Pine studio: in fact, we did not create the interior, we just took three pine trees and allowed their bizarre crowns form the space themselves. Our only goal was to show the best image of the crowns and “sculpt around it”. This is how the Pine studio appeared.

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Hi. My name is Anton Kozlov. I am the creator of the Pine studio. This page will tell you where this idea came from, the process of creating the studio and interesting hidden things that are not obvious at first sight.

Origins

When I was a child, I had a favorite bird cherry tree in the village. Not a day passed that I, a 5-year-old boy, didn’t spend time inside of its branches. Sometimes when I was alone, I would climb it for hours without getting bored. It was a unique tree. My imagination was captivated by its branched crown. It gave me an unusual sense of fearlessness and discipline. I, for example, walked well on the branches and was not afraid to fall down. I went up and down and when I was back on the ground again, I couldn’t believe that it was me who was doing that. I thought the tree was doing something with my imagination when I was up on it: it was taking my imagination and lending me its own for some time. This what I believed when I was a kid.

Later in high school, we were asked to write an essay on the topic of «My destiny». Somehow, the first thing I remembered was my bird cherry. When I was eighteen, I tried to reflect on it in a more rational way — on my perception of space, on how the work of consciousness gets altered when you look on the tree branches. I wrote some unimaginable nonsense and handed it over to the teacher. Even though I’d done it, I still continued to remember it as a theme of the work, as my bird cherry. I cannot say that I’ve succeeded much to give a proper answer since then, but something new still materialized. I realized perhaps the most important, perhaps even more important than the destination, because without it’s meaningless, was namely a practical meaning of my feelings and thoughts from those days that I spent in the branches of the beloved tree.

I realized that this was a state akin to moments when creativity takes place. Its essence was in a light detachment where my childish imagination separated itself from the whirl of events of daily life and bizarrely followed the inspiration from the tree. And if we assume that this state gave me, a child, some incredible qualities that I alone didn’t have — in fact the tree is vaguely telling me my essence through creativity the prospect of internal growth — then the creation of the Pine Studio has got twice the value for me: firstly, it allows me to share the best that I have, and secondly, it creates an interior that inspires — like my childhood tree. These two goals have formed the basis for the Pine studio.


The Beginning

At the end of winter 2013, when the water was drained out of the woods and ran into the soil, we went to a small forest, 350 kilometers from Moscow, to choose trees for the future studio. Among all the options, I chose a pine tree for its fascinating, ornate shape of branches. The idea, as already mentioned, was simple since the beginning – to take a few pine trees from the forest, bring them to Moscow and set them up in the studio and to create this unordinary space that only a pine’s crown is able to create. For the implementation of the idea, we were provided with all the necessary equipment: a tractor «Belarus», manipulator ZiL (a Russian automobile, truck, military vehicle) and an entire sawmill.

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The Plan Was Good on Paper
but We Had Forgotten about the Ravines,
or the Initiation of the Rover

Of course, it didn’t go without its difficulties. Being bookish people and not familiar with the harsh reality of tree-felling, we did not think that the weight of each felled pine tree would be about 4 tons. Late at night at the sawmill when the tractor and the ZiL had already gone, we suddenly realized that in reality the studio would need not only the crown, but also the trunks of felled trees. We jumped in our Rover and went back into the forest. We drove a towbar into the felled pine, threw a loop of rope around it and started to pull. In the end, our car dug itself into the ground all the way up to the Earth’s rigid mantle but the tree moved only half a meter. When, in the end, we started filling up the trailer, we were convinced that we would leave without springs, if we persisted in the same spirit. As a result, two filled trucks arrived in Moscow instead of the one that we had planned totaling 5 tons of wood.

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By the way, all these moments became a real rite of initiation for our Rover that we bought for the needs of our construction work, and that’s why its small copy finally became the symbol of the studio.

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Woodmanodicea

Another question that arose – perhaps a literary one, that suddenly hit me right before the start of the process – was: to cut or not to cut. One side is telling you that this is the tree you love from your childhood, it’s growing, giving buds, sticky leaves in the spring, while the other side, when special equipment and a team of loggers come.You reserve a shift at a sawmill and then need to give the green light to all their subsequent actions. The child within me woke up at that moment, but the other part of me was already so excited by the idea that there was no way back. We began to cut.

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Rather Be Cozy than Lumber

At the same time I remembered Mandelstam’s poem from a new point of view, where the lumber “pink-fleshed pines, stripped bare to the very tops of their furry tangle” gladly exchange their “burden” on the possibility to “creak in the tempest” as masts of the ship ”in the furious unforested air”. This was a very beautiful image. But is it possible to apply this to our life, if we assume that not lumber, but a very cozy pine which once trusted its branches to the birds for building a nest – already deserted by the time – would exchange its burden to become a comfort for people? These were the thoughts I had during all the process of tree felling.

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Answer

The answer came to me much later, when we had finished work on the studio. After a long 9 months of work, the pine trees turned into chairs, a table-top, stands for books, a bench, a staircase and even a support for the glass house in the branches. When I saw these items all together, I was really impressed. It reminded me of a village, and of my father’s love for figurines of wood – when he went into the forest, he would always come back with a gift: a giraffe figurine or a deer made of wood. So in the end I thought, it all went to a good purpose that the forest let us cut down and use these pines and not somebody else. People will come here, and some of them will feel the same warmth more than other people; this sacrifice from the pines will be good for a long time.

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Getting Lost in Three Pines

In the meantime, when we arrived in Moscow, we got down to designing the interior. Oddly enough, all the ideas came when modelling the studio on the computer: having lifted up 5 tons of wood, we realized that we should at least give them time to dry before “playing” with the pine trees in the studio (after two months their weight would reduce by more than half). We had to transfer the crowns into the computer and play with them in the virtual space, choosing the correct angles and building the space around them. The studio name at that time was “Three Pines”, and it turned out that it was not so difficult to get lost in the three pines.

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A Bedroom or A Movie Theater on the Tree

The first thing that caught our eye was the space between these three pines. We lifted up the most branching crowns higher so that our heads didn’t touch the branches. The most interesting piece of the interior was under the ceiling. Here, between the branches, this nook seemed like it was actually meant to be. It’s a place to take a rest, independent from the rest of the interior, with its own micro-climate. It’s not only meant to be because the nook creates the upper unit in the studio, but also because of all the interesting features there – a bed with a smart glass screen which can be transformed into a movie theater on the tree.

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A Living Room in Three Pines

Downstairs between the pine trees’ feet it seemed logical to make a living room. But there was one obstacle: having placed the treehouse with a movie theater above it, we realized that we were missing the main principle of the studio – zoned but at the same time open space. And most importantly, the second level had visually “cut” the branching tops of the pines from view. As a result, we came up with one of the most important solutions: all the walls must be made of transparent glass. Thus, we managed to keep the living room visually blended in three solid pine trees with the overhanging crowns and the little house in the branches. And it even looks particularly better in terms of insolation: during clear days, sunlight passes through glass walls and evenly floods the pines from top to bottom.

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Breakfast in the Pine Kitchen

There were two branches to the left of the living room, (one turned out to be in a natural partition for a treehouse), on this sunny side of the room, it’s great to have breakfast in the morning under both of them. We wanted to strengthen the effect of the pine trees being flooded with morning sunlight and decided to make the kitchen from pine as well. Not simply of pine, but just like the studio from the wild branches and sawn trunks. This way we could maintain the overall atmosphere of the interior: beautiful branches that fill the geometric studio with the spirit of nature. So, the kitchen was installed under the branches together with a tabletop made of sawn round shaped trunks and real pine chairs.

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Cinema from the Bathroom

The space on the right side of the room was still not used – it seemed to be a perfect place for a bathroom. However, having placed a glass wall in the 3D sketch, we realized that it visually blended in line with the projection screen which was not pretty. The pines helped us to find a way: by rounding a bit of the edges of the glass, we put the bathroom in a new dimension and visually played up the round tree trunks. We got a nice looking pattern. In addition, the shower room sidewall perfectly completed the rigorous geometric shape of the tree house on the right side of the projection screen. Furthermore, the use of smart glass as walls had provided an interesting benefit which was the ability to watch movies directly from the bath.

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Books instead of Cones

Everything seemed to have taken its ideal place inside and around the pine trees but something was missing. We drew attention to the space under the ceiling didn’t seem to be involved with the branches around the tree house. This space had its charm and we wanted to create some interaction with it. We remembered when we were working on the living area between the branches, we immediately thought that it needed some sort of activity like a movie theater. This kind of interaction was lacking here. We thought of interesting books – what if it is not just the crown of pine with the house on the branches, but the place where you can make new discoveries by spending at least a day reading a good book and looking through albums? As a result, we created a special ladder to be able to reach for knowledge and pick them as cones from the pine branches, and added another zone to the pine tree house – a library, where you could read comfortably.

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Afterwards

Thus, we gradually got our Pine studio. I particularly liked the latest decision with the books – that we managed to add an element of adventure in the interior: you could not only remember your childhood love for treehouses, but also play – to experience a kind of quest. All in all, the library and all the other zones of the studio formed a single atmosphere of games and, I think, it is powerful enough to awaken a feeling of creativity, with which this story had in the beginning.

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