International masterclass Learning to Create on ZooSphere 2010

Press release of Unitex group of companies
about the First International Masterclass
on aquarium design for kids
during the annual aquarium design contest
on the international exhibition of pet products and care ZooSphere 2010
The organizers of the first ever such event in Russia was Unitex group of companies and the management of the international exhibition of pet products and care Zoosphere. Recently formed Union of Aquarium Designers of Russia greatly supported this initiative. We are very glad that our initiative was responded by the leaders and teachers of Environmental and Biological Center Krestovsky Island of the state educational institution of education center St. Petersburg City Palace of Youth Creativity.
All property, as well as organizational expenses were paid by sponsors:
  • General sponsor: JBL GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), the European leader in the production of high quality goods for aquariums, terrariums and ponds.
  • Unitex group of companies (Russia), import and wholesale of professional products for aquariums, terrariums and ponds of leading European manufacturers, e.g. JBL, Dennerle, Europet Bernina, Schego and others.
  • Aquatech company (Russia), a manufacturer of high-quality aquariums and terrariums of wide range, reasonable price, an individual approach to each client.
  • Tropica Aquarium Plants (Denmark), one of the European leaders in the production and sale of high quality live aquarium plants.
  • BestAquatics (Russia), a distributor of Tropica Aquarium Plants in Russia. Care, breeding, wholesale and retail of high quality live plants and related products for freshwater aquarium.
Starting work on the organization of the First International Masterclass on aquarium design for children LEARNING TO CREATE, we tried to overcome the catastrophic situation with the children's public aquarium associations. We believe that the situation when the number of children's aquarium groups, clubs and other aquarium associations recently has been steadily decreasing is unacceptable. In our opinion the number of aquarium associations currently existing in our country, is not enough to promote such a positive hobby, educating artistic taste and respect for nature, as aquaristic.
The organizers intend to make every effort to develop the project Learning to Create further, to involve maximum number of participants from the regions of Russia, CIS countries. We try together with the Union of Aquarium Designers of Russia to create a system of an education projects including various events (exhibitions, contests, training seminars, masterclasses) helping to promote aquaristic in the country - and especially among children and teenagers.
The participants of the masterclass were aquarium designers known for their works in our country and abroad. We were honored by agreeing to participate in this event by following aquarium designers:
  • Illarion Makarikhin, Zaporozhye, Ukraine
  • Maxim Egorov, Ryazan, Russia
  • Gregory Polishchuk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
  • Sergey Svetlichniy, Kharkov, Ukraine
  • Andrey Krivchik, Moscow, Russia
  • Sergey Bautin, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
  • Dmitry Parshin, Moscow, Russia
  • Pavel Kashirin, Moscow, Russia
  • Sergei Terekhov, Moscow, Russia
  • Pavel Bautin, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg schools students from Ecological and Biological Center Krestovskiy Island also took part in the masterclass:
  • Elena Yezhova, lyceum #281
  • Alexander Morozov, gymnasium #52
  • Valeria Leksina, lyceum #281
  • Valeria Spiridonova, lyceum #281
  • Uliana Pukhova, lyceum #281
  • Julia Chubarova, school #605
  • Maria Vasilyeva, lyceum #179
  • Vlada Dubova, lyceum #281
  • Julia Guerke, lyceum #281
  • Daria Ivanova, lyceum #281
  • Daria Fomina, school #35
The organizers of the masterclass made a draw, resulting with paires of participants, as well as the numbers of pairs required for distributing 10 aquariums. Since the children were 11, one of the aquarium designers had to be lucky. The lucky master with two children was Gregory Polishchuk.
As a result of the draw the following creative teams were determined:
  • Aquarium #1. Illarion Makarikhin, Elena Yezhova
  • Aquarium #2. Maxim Egorov, Alexander Morozov
  • Aquarium #3. Gregory Polishchuk, Valeria Leksina, Valeria Spiridonova
  • Aquarium #4. Sergey Svetlichniy, Ulyana Pukhova
  • Aquarium #5. Andrew Krivchik, Julia Chubarova
  • Aquarium #6. Sergey Bautin, Maria Vasilieva
  • Aquarium #7. Dmitry Parshin, Vlada Dubova
  • Aquarium #8. Pavel Kashirin, Julia Guerke
  • Aquarium #9. Sergei Terekhov, Daria Ivanova
  • Aquarium #10. Pavel Bautin, Daria Fomina
The participants of the masterclass had a task to create a harmonious, stylistically complete aquarium composition consisting of live aquarium plants, natural materials for decoration of aquariums, freshwater fish and other aquatic organisms. Making the composition they should take into account the biological compatibility of its parts and to help creating natural environment in aquarium.
One of the main rules set by the organizers to the participants of the masterclass, was the fact that all decisions related to planning the aquarium composition, choosing design, plants, fish and other aquatic organisms should be made by both participants. Aquarium designers had an opportunity to shere with children the knowledge of aquarium composition, ability to choose the necessary decor to create a design, experience of sustaining biological communities in the aquarium.
It was assumed that the distribution of responsibilities within a couple of contestants should be constructed in such a way that the overwhelming amount of work on establishing composition in aquarium and installation of aquarium equipment was carried out by young hobbyists. At the same time aquarium designers could help when children because of theirage can not perform a particular operation without the help of adults - and such help will be monitored by members of the jury and, if in the opinion of the jury, this assistance will be excessive, it should be stopped.
However, assuming age of the children, as well as possible amount of time children can spend on participation in the masterclass, the organizers together with the members of the jury have decided to soften the last rule, insisting only on the equal participation of children in all operations associated with the designing the aquarium.
Despite the fact that the main purpose of the event was to make a masterclass, the organizers found it necessary to maintain competitive traditions that were common to all aquarium design contests, held during the international exhibition of pet products and care ZooSphere. It was decided to form an authoritative jury that would evaluate the works and determine the winners according to the established criteria.
The jury was:
  • Rodolphe Ruelle, director of sales of JBL GmbH & Co. KG (Germany)
  • Stefan Walter, director of special projects of Dennerle GmbH (Germany)
  • Kirill Markevich, CEO of Unitex group of companies (Russia)
  • Dmitry Fedchenko, CEO of Aquatech (Russia)
  • Natalia Romanovich, artist, aquarium designer, owner of the ADA certificate, author of popular articles on aquarium design (Belarus)
  • Evgeni Borovik, artist, photographer, winner of the first aquarium design contest on Zoosphere (Russia)
  • Svetlana Kirillova, member of the St. Petersburg Zoo, the winner of the second aquarium design contest on Zoosphere (Russia)
  • Vladimir Kovalyov, creative director of the Internet portal VitaWater, Ph. D. (Russia)
  • Sergei Chubarov, creative director of Akvasad, Ph. D. (Russia)
The masterclass participants was given the following property:
  1. Aquatech Aquariums 820 mm x 330 mm x 510 mm (length x width x height)
  2. External filters JBL CristalProfi e 900 with living bacteria
  3. Lamps JBL SOLAR NATUR 9000 K and JBL SOLAR TROPIC 4000 K
  4. Reflectors JBL SOLAR REFLECT
  5. Heaters with thermostat JBL ProTemp S 100 W
  6. CO2-systems to supply aquariums up to 160 liters within 40 days JBL ProFlora bio160
  7. Starter sets for planted aquariums JBL ProfloraStart Set 200 for aquariums up to 200 liters
  8. Straight stainless steel tweezers JBL AquaTerra Tool P1
  9. Special double-sided stainless steel spatula JBL AquaTerra Tool SP
  10. Floating magnets JBL Floaty M
  11. Nets JBL Fangnetz PREMIUM
  12. Aquarium thermometers JBL Aquarien-Thermometer Premium
  13. Test stripes for a quick check of 5 main water parameters JBL EasyTest 5 in 1
  14. Waterproof plastic container with 9 tests for a comprehensive analysis of fresh water quality JBL Testlab
  15. Water conditioner JBL Biotopol
  16. Water clearer JBL Clearol
  17. Water conditioner with living bacteria JBL Denitrol
  18. Biological filter medium JBL MicroMec CPe
  19. Substrate JBL Manado
  20. Aquarium gravel 1-3 mm white Geissler
  21. Ceramic caves Hobby
  22. Mangrove driftwood JBL Mangrove "M"
  23. Driftwood Geissler Finger Wood medium (20-40 cm) and large (40-55 cm)
  24. Different natural stones (tinguaite, sandstone, shungite, steppe stone)
  25. Wide range of aquatic plants
The masterclass was held in the pavilion 8a of Lenexpo from 17th to 20th November 2010.
On November 17 there was the grand opening at 15:30, then a draw was held to make pairs of participants. Experienced and young aquarium designers met and started to discuss the basis of aquarium composition they will create in their aquariums. Children painted enthusiastically, adults helped and gave advice. Then everybody started selecting substrate, rocks, driftwood, and other design elements. Very soon, the problem of choice has been resolved, driftwood and stones have found their place in aquariums. Some aquariums already had water. Everyone ordered fish. Shortly after that, the process had to be stopped because the exhibition was about to close.
On November 18, at 10:00 creative process continued. At 13:00 children had to leave for the regional competition in biology, so there was not a lot of time, they started to work harder. Preparation of plants, planting of the main mass of aquatic plants, water filling, connecting equipment to maintain biological balance, installation of lamps and reflectors, the launch of CO2 supply were done in 3 hours very energetically and enthusiastically. Children were taken to the competition in biology by force.
On November 19, the day when you can sit in the aquarium from the very morning until the evening, when the aquarium composition lookes finished, when all the plants have already been planted, all the equipment is installed and there is only one final touch - aquarium fish. Of course, for the children it was the most exciting moment, because they have done everything to make fishes feel like home.
On November 20, the jury began their work. And this work was not easy at all. Almost from the start of this action it became clear that the evaluating participants of the masterclass using developed criteria will be very difficult. At least for the reason that the well-known designers and the children put all their souls into their creations, and not one of them can lose. However, there was of course the competitive moment. In this regard, a compromise solution was made supported by all the jurors. It was decided not to define place from the 1st to the 10th, but to choose three works the jury liked the most using a very simple criterion: I liked it most of all. Each member of the jury determined 3 favourite aquariums, then all the data were compiled, three works the jury mantioned more frequentky became leaders. They were the aquariums #3, #5 and #7 (listed in numerical order).
  • Aquarium #3. Green Alley, Gregory Polishchuk, Valeria Leksina, Valeria Spiridonova
  • Aquarium #5. Beautiful nature, Andrey Krivchik, Julia Chubarova
  • Aquarium #7. Path to the Caves of the Mountain King, Dmitry Parshin, Vlada Dubova
At 15:20 there was the awarding ceremony. All participants were awarded with certificates for outstanding performance shown during the event. All 11 children were presented with aquarium and every equipment (fortunately, there was a spare aquarium prepared, but one of the participants of the masterclass will have to set it up at home). In addition, all children were invited to St. Petersburg Zoo and St. Petersburg oceanarium Planet Neptune. On behalf of the Union of Aquarium Designers of Russia all the children received a gift catalog of the First CIS Planted Aquarium Design Contest handed by Dmitry Parshin. From the Andrey Krivchik gave the children a wonderful Atlas of Aquarium Plants by Christel Casselman.
From the general sponsor of all contests during ZooSphere JBL the great aquarium designers who agreed to take part in the masterclass got presents.
Gifts from JBL were awarded to the winners of the People Choice Award, which was held November 20, Valeria Lexina and Valeria Spiridonova, aquarium #3 Green Alley.
Unitex group of companies thanks all the organizers and sponsors of the masterclass Learning to Create on ZooSphere 2010. Special thanks to JBL company and personally to Rodolphe Ruelle for his support. We thank Olga Novozhenova, a director of the ZooSphere exhibition for her invaluable assistance in organizing our contests on ZooSphere exhibition. Thanks to management and teachers of Ecological and Biological Center Krestovskiy Island and in the first place to Arthur Lyandzberg and Oleg Filippov. We are grateful to Svetlana Kirillova for her great help in organizing the masterclass. Thank you all!
Many thanks to all the designers who took the time and came to give children joy of co-creation. We remember the amazingly friendly and welcoming atmosphere in pavilion 8a of Lenexpo from 17th to 20th November 2010. And the eyes of children full of enthusiasm...
Aquarium #1. Illarion Makarikhin, Elena Yezhova
Aquarium #2. Maxim Egorov, Alexander Morozov
Aquarium #3. Gregory Polishchuk, Valeria Leksina, Valeria Spiridonova
Aquarium #4. Sergey Svetlichniy, Ulyana Pukhova
Aquarium #5. Andrew Krivchik, Julia Chubarova
Aquarium #6. Sergey Bautin, Maria Vasilieva
Aquarium #7. Dmitry Parshin, Vlada Dubova
Aquarium #8. Pavel Kashirin, Julia Guerke
Aquarium #9. Sergei Terekhov, Daria Ivanova
Aquarium #10. Pavel Bautin, Daria Fomina
Everyone together!