Recently, while shopping in a Russian bookstore I splurged (the damn things are $7 a pop) and picked up some Russian versions of American magazines – Forbes, Maxim and the like. Russian Maxim, although edgier: nipples are allowed, is not that much different from the American version. But Forbes, that’s a completely different story.
All the stories are filled with oligarch-related news, but the really interesting part is the advertisements. They seem to fall into three categories: multi-thousand dollar luxury watches, luxury watercraft and luxury housing. And holy crap, am I impressed by the luxury housing.
There’s this company, Donstroy, that specializes in super-luxury apartment buildings. They use architectural styles with pejorative names: neo-Stalinist and McMansion, but also Post-Modernism and what looks like neo-Constructivism to me.
I, for one, like Stalinist architecture and think that Triumph Palace looks pretty hot, even though it’s just a usual riff on the Municipal Building in New York that is so common in Moscow (I will write a separate article about this phenomenon later).
Unless that spire is a mooring mast for personal Zeppelins, Triumph Palace is not the most impressive building in Moscow. What really blew me away, was the Crimson Sails complex that absolutely exudes architectural hubris. It features 10 foot plus ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, some floors with only two apartments each, yacht club with a real lighthouse, over the top gym, three saunas and three Turkish baths, Austrian low temperature baths (which I had no idea existed), regulation bowling, tennis center, a water park, an apple garden, an Alpine garden (I had to look up what that is), and an and most importantly, walkways that let you get around the complex without exiting to the street level. If I had that much money in Russia, I’d be afraid to go out in the street too. Besides, if I lived there, why would I want to?
But the 18,298.5 square foot 3 floor penthouse called “Cesar” in Crimson Sails is what really changed my preception of reality in architecture. A living room with 26 foot ceilings. Personal elevator. Ginormous terrace with two rotundas and a pool, panoramic views of Moscow to kill (or die) for. Plus – that thing on the top is a helicopter pad. Rupert, eat your heart out.