Victoria Yakusha is a Ukrainian designer, artist and architect whose unique philosophy of 'live design’ centres around a deep connection to the earth and ethnic roots. Born in 1982, in Dnipro, she earned an architectural degree at Prydniprovska State Academy, Ukraine and completed her studies at the Institute of National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA), France. In 2014, after the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, Yakusha established FAINA—a design brand of furniture, decor, and lighting rooted in Ukrainian cultural heritage.
Both in FAINA and her limited collections, Yakusha presents a sensual and spirited take on minimalism. By merging an architectural background with her own laconic vision and the cultural codes of her ancestors, she has created a distinctive aesthetic that has brought her to the forefront of modern Ukrainian design. The country, long a blind spot on the global design map, began gaining strong features and presence—primitive, sensual, with heritage—revived in contemporary aesthetics and a unique sense of earth.
Yakusha explains, “In Ukraine, we have a strong connection to Earth. It’s always at the core of everything I create. Design rooted in the earth. I believe in the spiritual essence of things, the soul of an object. And it's one of the core elements of what I call live design—creating something that is alive. Something with a spirit.” True to the philosophy of live design, Yakusha reveals bi-annual Winter and Summer Solstice collections of new designs, thus aligning with the cycles of nature.
"The artisans are the carriers of valuable knowledge and I want to pass it on. To show their beauty to younger generations. When made by hand an object has a very special energy," adds Yakusha.
Every design of hers casts the mystery of handcrafted creation, the designer supports traditional Ukrainian craftsmanship and collaborates with Ukrainian artisans working with clay, wood, wool and willow vine—living materials native to her home country. Her signature sculptural objects are made of a sustainable Ztista material, invented by Yakusha herself. Ztista—a blend of recycled paper, clay, hay, and other natural elements is decomposable in soil and designed to one day return to nature.
Constantly integrating artisanal techniques into her works, Victoria connects the worlds of the past and the future. Minimalist modern design takes shape with traditional millennia-old crafts, often on the brink of extinction. Over the years, her designs have been exhibited at the world's most prominent fairs, including the Venice Biennale, Paris Design Week, Stockholm Design Week, Milan Design Week, Collectible Fair, Design Miami/Basel, etc.
In most cases, Yakusha was the first Ukrainian designer to represent her country on this global scale. Her works have appeared in myriad publications as well as been annually included in trend books and lists of perspective brands.
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