Setting off to discover former Eastern Bloc countries and Soviet Republics, Italian creatives Elena Amabili and Alessandro Calvaresi went about preserving the beautiful designs that represent a world that no longer exists.

In a series named Soviet Innerness, their colourful images offer an intimate look at a life that once was. Each pattern was discovered when the pair went rummaging around abandoned buildings in Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldavia, and East Berlin.

The duo stuck by three rules when creating the series: “If it’s not a wall, if it’s not on the inside, if it’s not behind the [former] Iron Curtain, then it doesn’t suit the project,” says Amabili. Their favourite spots for interesting prints? “The former secret city of Skrunda-1 in Latvia, the old Vogelsang nuclear base in Germany [an hour from Cologne] and the Pstrąże ghost town in Poland.”

Amabili and Calvaresi’s next project will involve images of Soviet modernist city planning.

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Dave Patterson is a content marketer. A writer by day and a reader by night. Coffee addict.