by Andrea Stuart
Once ruled by Catherine the Great, St. Petersburg, Russia is known for historic elegance, sophisticated architecture, and a cosmopolitan flair that seeps into the souls of those who live and visit it. Growing up there proved inspirational for San Francisco designer Tatiana Takaeva, a woman whose trademark in life and business is renaissance modernism.
A typical child of the Russian mentality, Tatiana grew up with her head high and hopes higher. Though she is among those of the last generation to grow up under the Soviet Union, Tatiana and her family prospered; referring to mantras that highlight perseverance as the key ingredient to life. “My father always said that at times, you can be scared, but you must keep at it and figure it out,” Tatiana says from behind the golden strands framing her face. “My generation is successful because we had change and opportunity.”
A designer by trade and inventor of style by nature, Tatiana is the owner of and creative mind behind Arttitud—a European furniture showroom richly garnished in functional art. At age 10, her mother noted Tatiana’s penchant for style when she began organizing things around the house; precisely classifying, sorting, and arranging the home to attain joie de vive. “Mom loved that I did this. She did not have to think about organizing the house,” Tatiana’s cobalt eyes glow with laughter as she shares how her mom found that clothing was another matter. “Of course, I was always concerned with how things came together. I would tell [mom]to take my dress to the tailor to make it special.” Tatiana admits to driving herself crazy with perfectionism at times.
Cultural experiences are at the core of those who grow up in St. Petersburg. Tatiana recalls being immersed in museums, theatre, and music from a young age; always admiring the arts as well as the buildings that hold and surround them. Her interests eventually took her to University of St. Petersburg where she obtained a Civil Engineering Degree, and escorted her around the world from Milan—one of her favorite places for design installations—to Tokyo.
Her passion for architectural excitement eventually formed a blueprint for her continuing education. Subsequently, she continued her education at San Diego State and Academy of Art in San Francisco, refining her skills and drafting a course for her future. “I have lived and travelled all over the world. I tried living in England when I was taking an English language program, but it was too rainy and has a freezing ocean,” she says. “I always loved San Francisco, so I got into a course in San Diego until I transferred up here. San Francisco just has so much stimulation for the mind and creativity.”
Tatiana’s son and daughter seem to be following in their mother’s creative steps. Proud of their designer mother, Tatiana’s children are in gifted programs at school, and each take great pleasure in the arts. And though they aren’t afforded the same freedoms that Tatiana had when she was their ages—attentive parents considered walking and public transportation a safe means of transportation for children in St. Petersburg—they carry pride for their mother and trust in her knowledge.
The light is just cresting the horizon of Tatiana’s life as she prepares for the next chapter in her life as mother and career woman. She’s a composite of European finesse (as evidenced by her pin-striped jacket and pressed jeans; bejeweled in equally au courant rings and necklace), and she’s anticipating the grand opening of Arttitud on October 12.
The next step in illuminating her future is a dream project: designing a children’s wing for Children’s Hospital using her eclectic child-friendly designs and interactive furniture. “I think the children’s area should be fun, safe, and functional…it should be special and bring a smile to their faces. I hope to do a presentation for them.”