We’ve been in St. Petersburg for a couple of days, meeting new people, discovering new brands and learning loads about Russia’s fast-evolving business scene. Today we’re doing something different though: diving into Russia’s rich history and culture with a visit to the world-famous Hermitage Museum.
“This place is like no other in the world: it was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and it’s one of the oldest and largest museums in the world,” Katya tells us. “Did you know it contains three million art works and objects?”
“Wow,” says Maarten. “That’s a lot of art!”
“If you spend one minute on each piece, it would take you eight years to view the whole collection!” says Katya.
“I’m not sure we’ll be able to fit that into our schedule, we have an appointment in Rio next month,” says Maarten with a smile. “We’ll have to pick and choose. What are the highlights?”
“Well, as you’re interested in learning about Russian culture, how about we head to the Russian wing?” says Katya as we enter the stunning entrance hall of the Winter Palace.
“The building itself is a museum,” I say as we walk up the monumental decorated staircase. “Amazing architecture!”
We start in the Russian general’s gallery, which houses an impressive collection of stately portraits of imperial Russia’s ruling classes.
“Now I want to take you to my favourite section,” says Katya eagerly as she leads us into the so-called “private rooms” that houss the collection of furniture and objects that belonged to the tsars.
We see the throne of Peter the Great, the library that belonged to Tsar Nicholas II and the Blue Room, the boudoir of Grand Princess Maria Alexandrovna, but also an impressive collection of porcelain. “This is all Imperial Porcelain,” says Katya, “it comes from a factory that was created in 1744 on the order of the Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, and that still exists today.”
“They still produce this here in St. Petersburg?” asks Maarten.
“Yes,” says Katya, “it’s a very prestigious brand that is proud of its imperial heritage, but that is also valued for its solid quality and functionality.”
“What an incredible heritage to build on!” I say. “Do you think we can meet them? I’d be really interested to hear about the evolution of the company. How do you turn this long heritage into a brand value?”
“Sure,” says Katya, “We can go and visit the factory, see how they make the porcelain and ask them about their vision for the future of the brand!”
“Great!” says Maarten, “now how about some tea? All this looking at tea sets has made me thirsty!”
To be continued…
Tags: Katerina Rogova, Ekaterina Rogova, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator Russia, coolbrands curator Russia, CBNWS, #ATW80B, MIG812, Brand Psychologist. HowISeeRussia, Hermitage, Imperial Porcelain