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Library: Virtual Reconstruction

The goal of virtual artistic reconstruction of the library room is to recreate the early XX-century interior, which is when the Nabokov family lived in this house.

he work was based on the few surviving archive photos, historical materials and stylistic counterparts, but mainly on the literary memories of V. Nabokov and his contemporaries. There are a number of sources that one can use to base their judgment upon when deciding as to what the decoration of the room looked like, but out of them the only iconographic source is a photograph taken in the 1920s.

No layouts or photographs were found that were directly linked to the Nabokov family time in the house, which inevitably influenced the absolute historical precision of the project. The main goal, however, was to create the atmosphere of that time.

Unfortunately, this was the destiny of many Saint-Petersburg mansions that seemingly irretrievably lost their interiors and decorations. Luckily, the elements of architecture that remained, as well as historical materials and museum collections, offer a possibility to recreate a relatively credible and spiritually authentic picture.

The following description is found in Nabokov’s novel “Speak, Memory”:

“…having swallowed a cup of hot chocolate in the diner on the lower floor, I rushed, while already putting on my coat, through the green hall (which still scented of tangerines and pine wood for so long after Christmas), aiming at the “library room” from where one could hear stomping and scuffle. It was where I used to find my father, (…): he fenced in an amazingly powerful manner, moving back and forth on the resin-covered linoleum (…). That part of the extensive library nicely combined science and sports: the leather of book covers and the leather of boxing gloves. Deep lounge armchairs with thick couches stood here and there along the walls covered with books. At one end there was the gleaming of a punching ball straight from England – those four barbells bore a roof-like varnished plank, and on it hung a big, pear-shaped, tightly filled leather sack for boxing exercises”.

The virtual reconstruction of the whole museum complex includes a three-dimensional model of the house’s interior, which will allow for a convincing and realistic representation of the interior visuals, as well as an animated presentation video, demonstrating the recreation of historical decoration, finish, furniture and other elements of the interior. Both the lost and the preserved and restored details are displayed.

This project could serve as one of the illustrations for the author’s works, an original prop of its own time.

The applied method of computed modeling allows for implementation of optional changes and can be naturally extended based on the materials for other historical interiors of the house. This work will provide a chance for having virtual guided tours in the recreated rooms and can also serve as a basis for an entire series of virtual reconstructions for the mansions of Saint-Petersburg.