“And We Had to Do Better Than Abroad”: the Local Vilnius Branch of VNIITE, All-Union Research Institute of Industrial Design, in Soviet Lithuania
Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis
Keywords:design, industrial design, design history, Lithuania, Soviet Union, socialism
This article focuses on the functioning of the Vilnius branch of VNIITE, the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for Technical Aesthetics. This large Soviet establishment was founded in 1962 and was active in product design, design research, dissemination of information and other related fields. The Vilnius office was one of the most privileged amongst the ten regional institutes, as suggested by the number of renowned international design journals the local staff was able to access. The practices of the VNIITE branch in Vilnius were diverse. The products designed by local designers included technical machinery, consumer products and public interiors. The branch was active in research, which included different scientific fields. The staff of VNIITE gave lectures and translated foreign articles to disseminate design knowledge and to inform local audiences of the “Western world”. Therefore, the Vilnius VNIITE office played an important role in modernising local design culture. This explains why a study of the practices of this institute is vital for broadening the knowledge of Lithuanian design during the Soviet occupation.