Masha Privalova owns the dubious pleasure of bringing us together as a group and making this project possible. The authorship of the book is mine with the exception of one chapter contributed by Eugene Kudashev. Illarion Gordon did all the illustration (a lot!), Alex Kritsouk laid the book out. Olga Kosova edited.
This 500-page book teaches research-driven design and common sense. It was written for the Mayor of Moscow and all the state-owned libraries, museums, theaters and community centers of the city. As such, it contributed to the more ambitious research initiatives of the Moscow Institute of Social and Cultural Programmes crowned with the large-scale Mechanics of Moscow.
The main problem of research-driven design is determining granularity of research. Monitoring brain activity of museum visitors is too much, asking nothing is too little. To spend resources well, a venue should know what kind of research contributes to which design outcomes.
The book teaches a lot of DIY research techniques that help resolve 90% of typical problems with navigation, visibility, sales and overall desirability of the venue.
The second major topic is working with external suppliers. The book discusses choosing and briefing a design agency or an external research group. Designing cultural institutions is written in plain language and is lavishly illustrated.