Made in Russia: Soviet Design Oddities and Masterpieces

If you thought iconic Soviet design stopped at Sputniks, Lomos, and Kalashnikovs, you’re about to get old schooled. The brilliant, essential book Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design travels back to a time when objects were built for function and uniformity — tilting dolls never toppled, drinking glasses fit exactly a third of a standard vodka bottle, and soda pop was available around every corner via communal vending fountains. Edited by Michael Idov and penned by expats, this insightful little tome is brimming with cultural heritage, humor, and pure design porn. Have a good read and a curious gawk in this slide show of some of our favorites. And please, hold the Yakov Smirnoff jokes.

This classic Soviet toy was designed to stay upright via a mysterious, self-stabilizing mechanism held within its bright, bulbous belly. When titled by a child, Nevalashka (“One-that-won’t-lay-down”) would gently rock back, making a subdued ting-a-ling sound. Every time. Image Courtesy Michael Idov.