So, one day in May our project begun. We pulled sacks of debris into a truck, filled it up and began to watch with interest at the old ZIL rearing and trying to load the burden on it. Lilacs were blooming, I (Anton) pierced my foot by a centimeter with a rusty nail, Volodya discovering Hercules inside himself, assured us that he could keep loading all day long and exhausted Tolya exclaimed: “Yeah – and die!”


During construction of the first two studios we had to go through a baptism by fire and the rite of initiation at the same time – the following three months we would be working from midday to one in the morning, seven days a week, getting incredibly tired, quarreling, but defending our arguments for the best possible result. The birth of Mama Ro studio format eventually owes its success to these first construction days. But all this was in the future, in the meantime, let us return to the past.



An April
Kind of Mood

We were walking down Pokrovka street. It was a warm April evening. During these days we were finishing work on a business presentation for the investor of our project. Having noticed the stairs in one of the mansions, we climbed it up to the roof to discuss the layout of the presentation. We were sitting there, sharing thoughts, looking at the appearing stars and couldn’t fathom that we wouldn’t succeed to receive an investment in the project.



Unexpected View

A couple of days later, on Easter, we climbed up another high point – the bell tower of The Church of St. John the Baptist – and saw this landscape from there. It would seem that the view of the Kremlin, Ivan the Great’s Bell Tower and St. Basil’s Cathedral sticking out through many rooftops was not the best one but suddenly we had an epiphany and the key point to our presentation.



The Seed of an Idea

We have created an image based on the seen landscape, which later on would be the project’s logo: two kids sitting on an oak branch above the city. The city lives its life, the branch rocks, the children sit with their legs dangling.hey are in no rush and they feel good and comfortable – that’s how we imagined our idea. We imagined this as a place that gives a sense of comfort in the heart of the city and open it up with a childlike frankness.


Idea of Comfort

This image challenged our imagination. We started to reflect on our ideas of comfort and integrate them into the interiors of the future project. Each of us wanted to share our experiences and ideas that could make one feel good and comfortable in the big city. We came up with a lot of interesting approaches – from projection screens to carefully chosen libraries in every studio – and we inserted it all in the presentation.



Not One Step Back

A few days later – coincidentally on exactly the 9th of May – our presentation was finished. It took six weeks overall to create it and we slightly overspent on our budget. To prepare, we had sacrificed our work, believing that we needed to risk everything to get fully engaged in the project and, as it turned out, it was not in vain – after failing to attract investment, we realized that there was no going backwards and it was exciting.




Setbacks as a Stimulus

You already know what happened next: in May we started our project. Since the investors rejected us, we had to build everything on our own – otherwise all our work on the presentation would have been done for nothing. Clutching the idea tightly in a fist, we found our ideal place in the city and then, as they say, many a little makes a mickle, we borrowed money from friends and tested the functionality of our concept by creating the two interiors which we had been dreaming about.


Discovery of our Format

The need to build by ourselves harbored another important discovery. In the photo with the debris truck we are only loading the construction debris. When we went back inside and glanced over the empty space that was supposed to be divided into rooms, we suddenly realized that we wanted to leave it as it was: we wanted to make studios instead of rooms – open spacious interiors, zoned only by the furniture – as if we made it for ourselves.


The Inception

Thus, all of a sudden the project turned into a new format – original designed studios created with a personal approach and filled with only the most interesting stuff. We only had two and a half months to bring our idea to life, so, we started to work.