Khokhlovka on the move
Open-air architectural museum branding with a twist
Khokhlovka is the highly immersive and atmospheric open-air ethnomuseum in Perm Krai, where tourists can dive into the old north-russian way of life. People wear historical dresses, crafting and taking care of domestic animals, doing their business in the entourage of ascetic architecture. All takes place in Ural scenery within its woods, hills and rivers. It is like Skansen in Sweden, Drvengrad by Kusturica in Serbia, or Hessen Park in Germany. We had been asked to come up with a new vision of museum, up-to date strategy and design.

Client: Perm tourist center and the Permian Lore Museum

Work: visit, research, brand strategy, design

Photo by Jacob
We launched this responsible project with a research: online first, checked user reviews a bit, then did some in-depth interviews and held a few round-tables with museum personnel.
  • Online survey

    We've launched a google form with many open questions and got more than 350 participants. People do care about the future of Khokhlovka! It was written in a colloquial style and was critisized lately.
  • User reviews

    The main russian touristic sites like tripadvisor and such. Mostly positive.
  • In-depth interviews

    Six dense interviews with many insights including the few from governor team. Source of important mentions.
  • Round-tables

    Round-tables with Permian Lore Museum personnel, who depend on the new decisions made most of all and take a defensive posture in dialogues.
Brand equity
What do we have right now
  1. Actual art
  2. Forest culture, hills, rivers
  3. All natural
  4. Seeking of truth, like the local Tibet
  5. One-day retreat
  6. Aesthetics
What people like
  1. Location next to Perm
  2. A lot of water reservoirs around
  3. Hilly terrain with trees and rocks
  4. Many working industrial wooden buildings
What people do not want
  1. Less kokoshniks (low-quality culture attributes)
  2. No plastic
  3. Stas Mikhailov music and such
  4. Outdated museum rules, like do not touch anything
What people want
  1. More up-to-date features, like "ethno-futurism", not just "ethno"
  2. Even more family oriented tourism
  3. Update the HoReCa infrastructure
  4. More rumble and rollin'
  5. Contemplative tourism
  6. Perfomances, immersive theater
  7. Concerts of contemporary music in the scenery (people mentioned Theodor Currentzis many times)
  8. New formats of the wooden architecture and art like Nikola-lenivets or Taibola
What brand must cure
  1. Create a system of motivations for systematic visits. Create a calendar of various events off-season.
  2. Make Khokhlovka a trendy place
  3. Attract small business, create the following infrastructure
  4. Involve Khokhlovka lovers in collabs and cofinancing projects
  5. Create sustainable platform for the innovations
  6. Update the ethnographic museum, use up-to-date technologies like wi-fi, modern hotel infrastructure and new formats of hotel business
If to summarize everything being said, our respondents wanted more Khokhlovka with the enhanced pace and all the year long:
Khokhlovka makes you move
We came up with a few dozen ideas for the year-round activities and infrastructure in Khokhlovka, according to the categories we called "movements". All of them reveal the topic of movement within the different perspective.
  • Water movement
  • Music movement (logs as music sheets)
  • Wind movement
  • Grass movement
  • Tree movement
  • Landscape movement
  • Spring

    1. Ice drift
    2. Primordial flowers fest
    3. Launching paper boats
    4. Maslenitsa
    5. Spring Film Fest
    6. Spring Dating Fest
  • Summer

    1. Meeting of the longest day
    2. Brass Band
    3. Movement
    4. Kamwa
    5. Genius of Place
    6. Diaghilev Festival in scenery
    7. Children's camps
    8. Summer in the landscape
  • Autumn

    1. Golden Autumn in Khokhlovka
    2. Festival of bright umbrellas
    3. Film festival "nature" in nature
    4. Pumpkin — the autumn gastronomic weekend
    5. Art exhibitions
  • Winter

    1. Icy slides festival
    2. Festival of ice erotic sculptures "telogreika" (sic!)
    3. Festival of boiling samovars open-air
    4. Snow fireworks
    5. Winter survival school
  • Gastronomy

    1. Cafe & bakery "mill"
    2. Restaurant on the embankment overlooking the Kama River with local cuisine "All the salt"
  • Platforms

    1. Cinema area "movie movement"
    2. Library "movement of the thought"
    3. Salt theater (on the waterfront)
    4. Skating rink "body movements"
  • Hotels

    1. Houses made of hayblocks
    2. Guest houses
    3. Guest houses with spa elements (e.g. salt wall)
  • Work

    1. Forest offices
    2. Wood workshops
  • Music

    1. Metaphor of movement
    2. Movement by notes
    3. Hook singing
    4. Conductor's movement
    5. Concerts in Khokhlovka
  • Theater

    1. Movement of action
    2. Development of events
    3. Movement on stage
    4. Dance
    5. Ballet
    6. Performances
    7. Performances on the waterfront
  • Swings

    Open-air swing museum
    1. Historical
    2. Unusual
    3. Innovative
    4. Over water
Khokhlovka had a visual identity before this project, and it was a part of the Permian Lore Museum family, so it looked justified enough to be left untouched. There were awesome glass informations stands upon all the museum territory that we felt in love with. We had to find something discreet enough to fit in the museum and easy for the local designers to work with.

The past Khokhlovka logo and, sadly, the present one, as well
Natalia had been swinging on the large old Khokhlovka swings and I was staring at the mill patiently mesmerized at its slow pace movements of four blades. Its image was used on the Khokhlovka logo, probably because of the similarity with the first letter X in the word Хохловка. If to summarize all being said by our respondents, people wanted Khokhlovka to move faster by all meanings. And if X will rotate faster, it will transform to the round O, the second letter in the title.
Igor Makovsky
  • Mill blades that move
  • Moving wheel as a symbol of motion
  • Round log cuts
  • Log masonry
  • Two first letters — Х O
  • Cornflower color
  • Traditional round dance
  • Remind the round logo of the permian lore museum
How to express the beginning of motion in static? Show it frame-by-frame! The idea of a 4-bladed mill making a twisted motion transorms into the fast rounded log. It looks ethnic enough, while being simple for print and looks unique, like a shooting star of a set of five cornflower flowers, you name it. If places vertically, it meant to be a set of log cuts.
Khokhlovka id cards hanging around
Stories told by the trees
Face of the Khokhlovka are the old logs. All the architecture is based on them, anyway. Unique and so different at the same time, if having a close look at. We've made a set of photos and have drawn a number of round illustrations of them in a special generative graphic manner:
The main heroes of the new brand on realistic settings
The same, but on vector settings
All the elements are being used in print design as the major element, adding to the logo visual. Strictly: one image per one layout.
Invitations on the logs
Predictably, trees became the mascots of the museum with concept of immersive letters told by the old trees.
One of the secondary objectives of our work was to point out tourist attention on the possible donation system. Every donation is followed by a personal certificate. We've made a concept of such dramatic emotion certificates, based on the tree communication model.
Donations are rewarded with the personal certificates
Flexible tree design
Even when working with old trees, we always head for a flexible design solutions, like the one with Khokhlovka. This square-like image shows how easily it is to create something using the elements from the brandbook.
Set of designs for the social networks
Khokhlovka visit-center
Brand vertical flags work together with the curtains of the same cornflower color on the windows. Makes every season in Khokhlovka look awesome.
Eventually, the movement has stopped
Always sad to state, that the work became totally unused due some circumstances, we have little understanding of. Miscommunication, lack of trust and poor managment work, that lead to unwillingness in cooperation and, sometimes, agression. Many graphical ideas, found here, had been later moved on to working with other working projects. Anyway, we're still open for contact and will be happy to cooperate in the future if we'll be requested.
Unused illustration at the end of the article, where the results should be
  • Natalia Rybalchenko
    Brand Strategist
  • Igor Makovsky
    Art direction, designer
  • Elena Shperkina
    Valida tourist operator
  • Gunia Musatova
  • Type.tomorrow
    CSTM Xprmntl 01 font
  • Temporary State (Roman Gornitsky)
    Five Years Later font
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